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How to Kill Sharks

Great White
For 70 years, shark nets have been protecting Australian swimmers from death by jaws. Since their introduction in 1936, not one fatal shark attack has been recorded at beaches where nets have been installed. (Well, not one that anyone wants to admit to) And even though Australia seems to have a bad rep for shark attacks there have only been 26 recorded deaths in the last 20 years - an average of 1.3 a year. (You've more chance of being killed by snake-bite, bee-sting or paralysis tick bite. And even those figures are single digits) Don't believe me? Check out these figures from Sydney Taronga Zoo's shark attack file

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that shark nets remove more than just Noahs from Aussie beaches.

231239-285031-thumbnail.jpg*"Protected species such as whales, dolphins and manta rays also get trapped in these nets. Ironically, another protected species, the majestic but terrifying Great White Shark is regularly caught in shark nets in significant numbers. No one really knows what removing such a high level predator from the marine food chain will do."*

sharkbrochure.jpg Early invitations for public submissions on how to address the shark attack problem on Australian beaches in 1935 resulted in some pretty interesting suggestions, including the use of machine guns mounted on headlands, and explosives to kill sharks. The less radical option of selective netting of public beaches was eventually introduced and later aerial shark-spotting by light plane.

Did you know that the Great White Shark and the Grey Nurse Shark (amongst others) are protected in Australian waters? ( The Grey Nurse was the first shark in the world to earn protection status in 1984 in all Australian States save Victoria and South Australia.) This, despite increasing attacks on surfers and swimmers in some areas - notably the tuna-farming and fishing grounds of South Australia. Just recently there was a Great White attack on a diver off one of Perth's main beaches in January this year. "He chewed on my arm for awhile and took me for a bit of a ride".

So yeah...the chances of being attacked or killed by a shark are pretty low. But I wouldn't want to be one of the 1.3 annual sharkbait figures. Terrible way to go.

  • From an ABC Television (Australia) programme on Shark Nets

Reader Comments (1)

Kill the shark protectors
April 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersimpleman

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