A shift in the hunting grounds

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

In 1975, Steven Spielberg filmed Jaws, a story about a man-eating great white attacking swimmers at a US holiday town. The film version of Jaws was adapted from Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. It was shot on the US East Coast, however all the shark footage was shot in Australia - specifically South Australia.

South Australia seemed a logical choice. In the twelve months preceding the shoot three people were killed by white sharks on the Eyre Peninsula, further entrenching South Australia's image as the shark capital of Australia. An unscripted moment occurred when a great white attacked an empty shark cage while the cameras were running. The ferocity of the attack convinced the producers of Jaws to alter the script, which up to that point had followed Benchley's plot. The rewrite had Quint escaping the attack, opening the possibility to a sequel, which was also filmed in South Australia.

In the years following Quint's cinematic revenge, little changed to dent South Australia's now universal reputation as the shark capital with eighteen more attacks before the turn of the century, eight of them fatal. When, in 1986 Nat Young and Brad Farmer passed through South Australia to write the 'Surfing Guide to Australia', readers were in no doubt as to the danger of surfing in South Oz waters. Sharks are mentioned numerous times in the Yorke and Eyre Peninsula chapters, which are separated by the only non-surf photo in the book. It's a photo of a great white of course, accompanied by the caption: "South Australia is infamous for the size and quality of their sharks."

In the same book but 2,000kms distant, the authors report that most surfers prefer to paddle across the Richmond River at Ballina to reach South Wall.

If you know any South Australian surfers, particularly those who came of age through those decades, you may recognise a peculiar response to the shark threat. Speaking generally, though I can't recall any South Oz surfers acting differently, they were stoically resigned to their fate. They all chose to surf knowing their home waters were dangerous. The environment didn't change around them. The statistics didn't shift.

That acceptance played out, not just in disposition, but also in the public response - or lack of a public response. Because, despite being the shark capital of Australia, there's never been a call for a shark cull in South Australia.

A replica of a five-metre great white caught in 1990 now hangs out the back of the Shell service staion in Streaky Bay

As the new century ticked over and Sydney partied through the 2000 Summer Olympics, two fatalities occurred in South Australia, both of them on surfers. The first was Cameron Bayes who was honeymooning at Cactus and was taken by a great white on the 24th September - twenty years ago today. The very next day, 17-year-old Jevan Wright was also taken by a great white while surfing at Blackfellas.

In summarising his findings into Wright's death, the coroner stated that all South Australian surfers must assume the risk of shark attack, concluding: "I very much doubt that any further warning or other preventative measure will reduce the likelihood that such an event will happen again."

Yet the coroner was wrong. It didn't happen again. Jevan Wright was the last surfer to be killed by a shark in South Australia. To be sure, there have been other deaths. Five to be exact, all but one were divers. It may be tempting fate to write this, but South Australia has become a safe place to surf. It's a remarkable thing to consider, especially as nothing outwardly changed in what was once the shark capital of the world.

Just two months after Jevan Wright was taken, a swimmer was killed at Cottesloe, Western Australia, the first in a cluster of deaths that haunted surfers, swimmers, and divers in the state's south-west. There's since been twelve more fatalities on the stretch of coast between Perth and Esperance, more than double that of South Australia, and, unnervingly, seven of them were surfers. 

During this period, surfers and divers rightfully engaged in the public debate and the idea arose that the increased attacks were linked to changes in the eco-system. Namely, the resurgence of whites following legislated protection. That theory, and it may be true, doesn't explain the decrease in incidents on the other side of the Bight. If there were more whites in Australian waters, and if whites were the cause of all South Australian fatalities, then why did fatalities drop in the festival state?

It was a question shark researchers were unable to answer as the issue rose to further prominence following a string of attacks on the opposite side of the country.

It's impossible to say when exactly northern NSW became the latest region to challenge for the shark capital of Australia. In early 2008, Peter Edmonds was killed at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, and it appeared to be a random attack. After all, it'd been fifteen years since the last fatality, and that was a diver way out at Julien Rocks. Yet hindsight reveals Edmonds death preceded a string of sightings and encounters that seemingly reached a climax in the middle of the decade with the death of two people, Paul Wilcox and Tadashi Nakahara, within the space of six months.

Sightings and encounters remained steady over the following years, yet they again reached a climax with three deaths in the region this year: Mani Hart-Deville, Rob Pedretti, and Nick Slater. Northern NSW is now in the grip of the same fear that once held South Australia. No-one paddles across the Richmond River to access South Wall. Older surfers question how wise it is to introduce kids to the water. The difference is that, unlike South Australians who grew up with their fear, this has been foisted on surfers of northern NSW. It wasn't like this ten years ago.

Again, shark researchers can't explain why they've appeared and are attacking people where they once didn't. Even the pattern of attacks - time of day, the weather, the water turbidity - follows no discernible pattern.

The only thing that's certain is that if Hollywood were to remake Jaws, South Australia is no longer the obvious location for water footage.

Comments

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 2:40pm

"It may be tempting fate to write this, but South Australia has become a safe place to surf."

Thanks Stu, you've just fuckin' jinxed it.

Don't let the bastards grind you down

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 2:44pm

It'll be the first piece of causal evidence the shark researchers have!

Sebamo's picture
Sebamo's picture
Sebamo commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 5:02pm

You made me chuckle

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 2:41pm

It is strange. I remember around Xmas about 2 years ago there were a few 4m shark sightings east of the Goolwa car park in the ‘surfers zone’ and then there was a reported sighting on the shark watch Facebook page of 4 GWS 4m in length, a couple of hundred metres to the right of the main beach carpark around 200-300m out. No doubt there were surfers out around there unaware of a pack of GWS’s nearby.
It seems they might be out around there regularly at times. It would be handy to know why there seems to be these clusters of attacks.

Stan France

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 2:50pm

A shark report at Goolwa could only come from someone in the water (no boats frequent the area, and land based observations are difficult, if not impossible). As such I'd be a little cautious on the report from one person (or more than one?) saying they saw 4x four-metre Great Whites.

Not to say sharks don't frequent the area - they do! - but the water at Goolwa is usually quite turbid, so you're only getting a look when they surface. So it'd be a little more difficult to accurately identify the species, than from an encounter at a surf break west of Victor.

Crustie's picture
Crustie's picture
Crustie commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 3:18pm

Pretty sure those were legit and spotted by the shark plane

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 3:19pm

Ah, fair enough. I stand corrected.

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:02pm

Yep, from a shark plane. There should be a record of it somewhere on whatever the shark watch facebook page is called

Stan France

sc1southern's picture
sc1southern's picture
sc1southern commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:43pm

Been plenty of sightings still up to even just a few weeks ago when a pack of a few surfers out the point at Parsons watched a reported 4m swim straight through the back of the line up. Last summer sightings quite frequent and fukn close to the shore, we had been surfing out the hump one Saturday early arvo and to find out later that night that a 4-5m had been spotted by the shark plane [ which we watched fly over ] around 2pm was a little close for comfort.......And that was basically 15min before our session had come to an end and went home for afternoon spritzers proves that plenty are still around down here in mexico town.!! It just seems they have a plentiful supply of whatever they are munching on and clearly it's not in wetsuit material..? The major increase in the whale numbers on the east coast and obvious years when the bait balls are larger than normal which attracts the bigger fish along with our mates in the grey tuxedo's has got to be the reason for the pattern change in their predatory brains. Water temps would have some sort of attraction along with the smorgasboard and array of John Wests rejects for the big fella's. You guys just going to have to deal with it the way we have down here for decades. Culling is not the answer when the animal has been doing this since the dinosaur age it's all it knows.??! Has got to be a better management system put in place to educate and mitigate the risks involved eg: surfing on your own dawn/dusk, surfing on overcast days with huge bait balls and diving sea birds, near or around estuary's on tidal changes or flushing's after rain events. Some government funding [ Pffttt ] would help in supporting an Australian scientific study state by state over a 12-24 month period and then cross referencing of the information to get a better understanding of where tagged sharks migrate/swim, feed, mate and territory their behaviours would be a good start to semi understanding one of nature's greatest hunter's.

saltyhooves's picture
saltyhooves's picture
saltyhooves commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 8:58pm

For years I've seen humans wanting to interact with Great Whites...shark cages..the fake seal dragged behind a boat..using food to attract them close to (tourist) boats. This is animal training. Who is to say that a GWS for example in South Africa, who has been encouraged to approach the surface and interact with humans, shows up in Aust waters and is attracted to human activities in the same way here? Or vice-versa..
I'm not saying that this is the case entirely..obviously a top order predator is highly curious and opportunistic..but why must humans encourage interactions? I dare say for money making activities....
We need to study and learn with subtlety instead of luring and (essentially) taunting these awesome creatures.
The pressure we put on the world's oceans is immense...lets look at fine tuning our behaviour to protect and preserve with respect.

giddyup

danjamesmick's picture
danjamesmick's picture
danjamesmick commented Sunday, 11 Oct 2020 at 4:54pm

doesn't explain the drop off in GWS attacks in South Oz on surfers, unless all the cage diving here has made them forget about surfers as a meal and only go for fully submerged wetsuited people.

chrisss_91's picture
chrisss_91's picture
chrisss_91 commented Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 10:21pm

Any reference to the one at parsons a few weeks ago? Haven’t heard anything about it and surf there quite regularly...

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 3:01pm

Whites were pretty much fished out in nsw waters by the time surfing really took off in the late 60s and there main food source the whale was in danger of going extinct but in South Aus it was probably still buisness as usual only that more people took up surfing in less crowded spots so more opportunity for white sharks.As for a pattern of attacks well i dont think there can be a pattern as they are opportunistic hunters so they feed when they can .Also from what i can gather is that most attacks in SA were from large whites not juveniles so its possible the last haven for breeding whites was SA and WA ....anyway its all speculation but the bottom line is there weren't many GWS breeding 20 years ago but there is now.

simba

willibutler's picture
willibutler's picture
willibutler commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:51pm

This raises one of the biggest points thats been on my mind of late. So many people come to conclusions about patterns of shark attacks on humans, but the statistical random probability is so low to draw conclusions. How many attacks could have almost occurred on other stretches of the coast or between the gaps of the major attack years. Sharks patterns should be more drawn from what else they are eating in my opinion.

willibutler's picture
willibutler's picture
willibutler commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:57pm

it makes sense though that if white shark numbers are increasing the frequency of attacks will increase the statistical probability of occurrences. But its harder to like an increase in attacks to a increase in shark numbers because the shark attacks are such a random event if that makes sense

batfink's picture
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batfink commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:21am

‘Fooled by Randomness’, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, one of a series of books worth reading from him. First one was ‘Black Swan’.

But mostly summed up in his book ‘Anti-fragility’. He’s not a great writer and refuses to use an editor, but the ideas are inspiring and enlightening.

jasper99's picture
jasper99's picture
jasper99 commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:13pm

Would the age of these sharks attacking in northern nsw be the reason for the amount of incidents?
And of course the fact they're protected thus increasing numbers. I've mentioned it before in another thread and I'm not sure how true this is however I was told recently from a mate that female GWS can give birth to up to 15 offspring! Like I said unconfirmed but my other question is how often do they give birth?
Thoughts go to those whom are mentioned in the above article also. RIP

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:14pm

V big difference in the reactions also due to the fact that white sharks were protected in '99.
Which means before that, and even afterwards local fishos could and did take matters into their own hands, effectively local culls.

Just like after the Byron Bay/Julian Rocks fatality in '93 a local fisho was deputised to go and catch the shark, which he duly did.
Well, at least he fought an epic 6-8hr battle with the shark until it broke the chain.

SA surfers had always lived with the presence of white sharks.

V different story for east coast surfers.

when a juvenile white was washed up on the beach at Byron in the early 2000's just after the Cape Byron Marine Park was gazetted the marine park manager refused to believe it because the white shark was not considered to be a part of the marine fauna of the area.

JackStance's picture
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JackStance commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:58pm

That shark got away the first time, but got caught the second. Single teeth from that creature were sold for $250 a pop. And there was half an oxygen tank in the stomach.

Breathe. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 11:50pm

Coooool,

What a memento that would be.

Just like in jaws 1.

Kinda.

Peace

Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68 commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:37pm

The one and only time I spent at Cactus was in 1999 for about 3 weeks whilst on the loop around Aus. Epic experience. Before we got there I distinctly remember the fear based thoughts around GWS attacks etc but I must say our main concerns/fears were coming from the past stories surrounding the locals. Never saw or heard of any sharks (no doubt they we're there) and the handful of locals that were present were very friendly and respectful, as were my wife & I. Strangely enough I'm not sure I would surf there these days, yet surf fairly regularly in SW WA. It's such a psychological game. Just gotta hope its not your time....

Pristine

martyjones's picture
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martyjones commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 6:24pm

I grew up surfing in south australia and feel pretty comfortable in the water on the west coast of sa, now I live in WA and when I get down to Margaret river area I feel a bit spooked at some breaks haha. I think it comes down to - ‘better the devil you know’ haha

Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68 commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:44pm

That is so true!

Mind games :-)

Pristine

Dan Belleli's picture
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Dan Belleli commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 7:25am

Grew up surfing in SA as well, now living and surfing on the GC! The GC was always a safe haven and the tweed always felt a bit sharky! My question is- surely we are over fishing the oceans. Surely this has a dramatic impact on the food source for these predatory animals! Guess it’s not a question, more of a statement! But I believe there has to be some correlation with over fishing!!!!

Switchfoot bob's picture
Switchfoot bob's picture
Switchfoot bob commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:41pm

Well I've read a book called sharks teeth by Susan Casey, it's about the farralone islands where sharks come from thousands of kms a2ay to feed on elephant seals n other types. They had a shark research centre on there n the fuckers would sit in a light house n spot sharks. Then they would go out in a boat n tow a fish shaped surfboard behind the boat and document the attacking of the surfboard they reckon a fish shaped got attacked more than other shapes . Fucking retards then these sharks would swim off around the world with that memory. The dumb thing about it was the guys doing it were surfers. Some of the whites would hunt in packs n have a hierarchy. Amazing book but fucking retarded idea!
I just thought it was worth sharing.
Yep in WA when surfing it's on ur mind constantly. I go over east all the time n I didn't worry now it'll be on my mind there.
Feelings go out to all the families that have suffered from losses.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 6:40pm

Cool. Would definitely be keen for a read of that.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 7:44am

A classic story in that book is when the island based researchers watched a San Francisco based dive / snorkel tour charter pull up off the island at a spot known to have many large GW patrolling up and down non stop just below the surface. On shore they tried to signal and wave to them not to go in the water. But after waving back 20+ tourists geared up and headed into the water. Five minutes later there was a mad flurry as they rushed back to the boat presumably after coming face to face with some very large curious and hungry sharks! Ten minutes later the boats was gone.

Another story in it is of a diver for urchins who was the only diver to work the area - easy pickings. He was used to the sharks and dove among them most days - alone. But he had a large urchin bag which he used to fend them off - push them away if they go too close or stuff in their mouth if it got more serious. He also always dove directly beneath his tender and would only over head for the surface from directly below it so he never was silhouetted against the bright surface water. Now that is a gutsy way to make a living. It also highlights why surfers are so much a potential target sitting on the surface for hours ay a time.

Frogg

kieron_h's picture
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kieron_h commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:49pm

There is a short film of that diver's encounter with a shark - it was free a while ago, but now seems to be a small fee. It's the stuff of nightmares... https://vimeo.com/ondemand/nearmiss

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:19pm
the-u-turn's picture
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the-u-turn commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:41pm

Jeez, you've written that well, Stu.

You have articulated, very well, what it was like growing up as a SA Surfer. I know the Swellnet team has a soft spot for SA, too. As much as I loved surfing SA, I haven't looked back once since making the bolt like Barry in 2002.

Yes, I miss the sunset's at Cactus, the sprint's to Yorkes and the (miraculous when they did come) glassy little swell's on the Mid. I don't miss the fear. Not one iota. I left following a well-documented attack a little too close to home in 2000.

Despite the change in where we are seeing shark activity I just don't experience that instilled, ingrained and conscious fear of wondering what's beneath you when in SA. I'm not too sure if it was the smell of the water, the change in the salinity or the obvious lack of people in the water. But, surfing in SA (& WA for that matter) is still a different psyche for me.

The U Turn
...a little Aloha goes a long way.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 6:42pm

I agree. There's something about sitting in crystal clear water that is midnight black. It has that jurassic feel to it especially on the E.P.

Jono's picture
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Jono commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 6:56pm

Having experienced the 90s/2000s in SA and now the current situation on the North Coast, I can say that paddling out at playful Tweed Coast beachies with sunny skies and warm green water now has the same feeling that I used to get while surfing a few of the notorious Eyre Peninsula spots. Which causes a strange juxtaposition that I'm not used to. As you say, in SA the water has a different feel - a bit colder and darker - you can easily picture large and dangerous fish getting about. So now having that feeling while surfing postcard warm water beaches is pretty strange to process.

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:02am

Yeh true jono.

My older non surfing brother once gave me a rambo style dive knife complete with sheave and rubber strap to attach somehow when surfing incase of an attack!

No, i never used it for that but has come in handy on abalone hunts.

Peace

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:43pm

Stu > suggested edit "a swimmer - Ken Crew - was killed at Cottesloe, Western etc"

Stu > as a matter of respect, if we can collectively identify and add in the 12 names in this sentence: "There's since been twelve more fatalities on the stretch of coast between Perth and Esperance, more than double that of South Australia, and, unnervingly, seven of them were surfers. "

RR

Rabbits68's picture
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Rabbits68 commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:48pm

Yeah I was curious about that too.......

Pristine

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 5:12pm

No disrespect intended, but this is an article written by a surfer for surfers, which zeroes in on the threat to surfers, so I've only included surfers names, except where the list was too long and would interrupt readability.

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 6:27pm

ko

fishnsurf's picture
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fishnsurf commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:44pm

So whens that wave pool going be finished ?

Surf ingredients

factotum's picture
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factotum commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:50pm

Note to Stu:

Sure you've got the Quint (Robert Shaw) reference entirely correct? Not thinking of Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) the marine biologist that goes down in the cage? Or Brody (Roy Scheider) the copper who's in the sequel?

The Streaky shark on the wall of the pub and replica at the servo:

https://apnews.com/1a1506a0c4c32467cbc516c9e58c8671

In that vein, plenty of swirling stories post those attacks.

Vale.

factotum's picture
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factotum commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 4:55pm

Actually, come to think of it...pretty ordinary title. No sub-editor to blame.

Hunting grounds? Really? We're being hunted?

Or they are??

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 5:13pm

If the sharks aren't hunting then what are they doing??

factotum's picture
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factotum commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:43pm

The usual. Eating, shitting, fucking, giving birth.

Y'know, living?

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:54am

Nice evasive answer.

So sharks never, ever hunt, eh?

Mr Underhill's picture
Mr Underhill's picture
Mr Underhill commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:56pm

No, they get their food from the farmers markets like all the other apex predators.

Dumb comment.

adam12's picture
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adam12 commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 5:19pm

Yes Facto, I too was confused by the Quint reference. Did they film another ending where he survived and then left it 'on the cutting room floor'?
Shaw was epic in Jaws, I think he got the Oscar for his role. The part was originally cast with Oliver Reed playing Quint but he refused to fly at the time, so Shaw got the role. The retelling of the Indianapolis sinking by Shaw in the scene just before the shark attacks the boat is a highlight of his performance.

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:36am

Shaw's a fascinating character. What a raconteur slash Renaissance man of letters.

https://dangerousminds.net/comments/robert_shaw_was_a_great_actor_but_di...

adam12's picture
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adam12 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:26pm

Wow, thanks for that Facto. What a guy!

blowfly's picture
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blowfly commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 5:39pm

Humans always look for patterns, so when we look at shark attacks there is a tendency to assume that because we see groupings they are not random, but random does not mean equally spaced. A good analogy might be cancer clusters. If a group of similar cancers occur in the same area over a short time period the assumption tends to be that there must be an environmental trigger; radiation, pollution, whatever. Very often though the trigger does not exist, the cancers are just part of a random distribution. We do not have enough data on shark attacks to be certain of anything but I think they are probably more random than this article suggests.

Troppo's picture
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Troppo commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 7:50pm

interested to hear the background for this comment.
Got any interesting cases where clusters are unrelated?
The age old rule of "where where's smoke there's fire still works for me.
Would love to read of evidence on the contrary, but clusters are usually very very related.

podrig's picture
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podrig commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 10:25pm

Basic statistics. Incidents occurring close together (in either time or space) can be equally as 'random' as incidents occurring far apart.

Think of rolling a dice, just because you throw two (or more) sixes in a row it doesn't change the probability of any dice throw being 1/6.

As blowfly points out humans love to look for patterns, they give us a sense of stability in a chaotic world.

batfink's picture
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batfink commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:32am

You’re right blowfly. In fact randomness means there will be clusters, of sorts, somewhere in the distribution.

Plus human brains are genetically primed to recognise patterns, even if they aren’t there. It’s hard to get your head around the meaning of numbers sometimes.

FR’s comment below notwithstanding. Greater information reduces the randomness, but fluency in numbers is required to draw conclusions.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 5:46pm

I think the more data that is gathered, especially on the north coast where we have now excellent data gathering from the Smart Drum lines, the less these events are completely stochastic BB.

blowfly's picture
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blowfly commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 6:01pm

FR I'm not suggesting they are completely random, only that randomness plays a bigger role in where and when they occur than the article suggests.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 6:35pm

This is a really good article, thanks Stu.
No idea if this could correlate to the drop in attack numbers in South oz however the fur seal population has boomed in the last decade.
"In 2013 .... state population was estimated at over 85,000 animals.[22] In 2015, Dr Brad Page told the ABC that the population had reached 100,000 animals. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_culling_in_South_Australia
I also recall chatting to a mate in Pt Lincoln who's a fisho and he was saying something about a particular form of netting that had been banned. I can't remember the specifics, but he was saying that less seals were getting caught as bi catch hence another reason their numbers were up.
Not sure if it means more of their preferred food source in the water means less attacks on surfers, and i'm semi sceptical it is that,( i would have thought it could contribute to more encounters) however could be a factor.

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 6:51pm

i like this idea. we should all start wearing bright yellow wetties. im not taking the piss. ive been thinking about what the increased seal population around my area could mean and this helps a bit.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 7:14pm

haha. yum yum yellow?

geoffrey's picture
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geoffrey commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:49pm

Okay pink

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:56pm

hahaha. Could be a hit!! (not in a shark hit kinda way) I actually think you're onto something though!

garyg1412's picture
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garyg1412 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:39am

I had a pink and yellow Piping Hot wetsuit back in the late 80's - no shit. Thought I looked the goods (go figure!!) but never saw a shark. Like Batfink though it didn't go with my lipstick and high heels so I gave it to my brother.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:43am

I would like the option Geoff. At the moment, wetsuits come in any colour, as long as it is black.

I think it was Ron and Valerie Taylor who did some experimentation on striped wetsuits, the hypothesis being that many of the most venomous snakes are striped (IIRC) and that it might be a calling card suggesting that predators stay away. It’s a decent, but unproven hypothesis.

I would take the striped option wetsuit if it was available. Then I’d have to think about whether to go horizontal, vertical or diagonal stripes, and how it would look in my high heels, but I’m sure I could manage.

Anyone know of manufacturers doing some striped numbers? Hope they don’t make me look like a striped mackerel though.

ouboet's picture
ouboet's picture
ouboet commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 6:18pm

Radiator Wetsuits, based in Fremantle, were making striped suits for this reason for several years. No more mention of them on their website though. Here's what they used to look like from an old post on a 3rd party site:
https://www.outdoors.org/articles/amc-outdoors/anti-shark-wetsuits-the-r...

They also made the same pattern stripes decals tickers to put on the bottom of your board, production of these also seems to have halted though.
https://radiator.net/collections/shark-deterrent-surf-range

In WA there's also Shanon Worrall's "Shark Eyes" stickers to put on the bottom of your board, based on the dictum "Eyes in front, likes to hunt (eyes on the side, likes to hide)", thereby notifying ths shark of another sizable predator.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 5:18pm

Cheers oubuet. They’ll do.

Anything that isn’t a seal costume would be better I think.

Seriously considering shark eyes though.

ouboet's picture
ouboet's picture
ouboet commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 8:20pm

Hope you can still get hold of those suits if you're interested - website didn't look too promising. The Shark Eyes stickers are all over the show here in WA though.

mothart's picture
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mothart commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 6:51pm

Thanks for the jinxing Stu,

Have thought about this one a bit over the years,
Few years after the tragic events of 2000, I moved to the Eyre Peninsula, was told I was crazy.
Many mates spread their wings too & moved to Margs or Goldie/NthNSW to ‘safer’ pastures... I sometimes wonder if they would have felt safer back on the mid?
The EP has always been spooky, always will be, some days I’ll happily swim out to Blacks, other days I get the hebie-gebies & don’t want to put my big toe in the water.
The fear is real, the other night I was watching ‘Soul Surfer’ with my daughters, one in each arm, the shark scene had me in tears (I cant ever remember crying in any movie before),
It hit such a nerve, as they are young & I am teaching them to surf.
But what do you do?
Not teach them?
Give up yourself?
I’m not educated enough to come up with any answers or solutions,
So I guess it business as usual...

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 7:01pm

Nicely written.

You have highlighted well why i have been unable to understand all the eastcoasters fear of great whites, to a point..

As a native south australian i've learnt to be comfortable surfing solo on all our coast lines.

25 years of wave riding, never seen one.

I also fly in airplanes over oceans a fair bit and everytime i do, it reminds me just how vast a body of water it is, volume and area.

The odds of a shark crossing paths with me in their sea while im out there, is just ridiculously incalculable.

I have too much good karma for that to happen!

And everyones gonna die, so if its via a shark in the ocean, so be it.

25 years in the water and ive only felt sketched out half a dozen times.

Im not gonna let the minascule chance of an encounter stop me from scoring empty waves.

Peace

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 7:42am

I was watching the Aussie Grand Designs last night and the house being built was at Wategos with a view of the break there and Julian Rocks. As they filmed a huge whale breached right in the bay. It was a beautiful scene of blue water, shimmering north coast ocean and a "safe" looking sandy white bay / point. It looks like the ultimate water playground to swim, surf, kite surf etc.

Now that same idyllic little bay is where a highly experienced waterman - George Greenough - describes a series of encounters with some very large sharks in a relatively short space in time in recent years. The migrating whale breaching and its fellow brethren probably have a steady stream of large sharks following them up the coast. As the kiddies play down below, learning to surf, the tagged sharks are pinging signals of their visits to the area non stop. Numerous juvenile GW are now known to be hanging out in the bays nearby chasing fish and rays and getting braver and eventually experimenting approaching bigger prey. Byron Bay sticks out so far that travelling GWs are highly likely to pass close by. Drone footage has dispelled our hopes that the GW were somewhere way out to sea and not around white sandy beaches. Drone footage has also shown that they come in for a look (at surfers and even swimmers in the shallows) if they sense something in the water - 10 years ago that was not what I thought would be happening so much.

So what is weird about the north coast situation is that juxtaposition between a postcard perfect place for ocean fun and much higher level of likelihood of an encounter than in some places in SA and WA. I suspect in those coasts the big ones probably hang more around the seal colonies and offshore reefs and islands or out further in deeper water where the tuna run. They might visit a popular inshore beach more occasionally. A big feed of seal might be easy and routine and they just hang mainly off some proven feeding haunt. They might be past the stage of experimenting with new food sources and just take a seal every few days.

But at Byron and further north it appears as though they are there in numbers and close in with a high degree of certainty. I tend to think that the "its a big ocean" feeling and that the GW are somewhere else, near a better food source, is harder to accept mentally and maybe in practice in north NSW at the moment than many other places around Australia.

It seems a bit like being near the main GWS highway versus being out on a country road where only occasionally a large white drives by.

Frogg

Gazbomb's picture
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Gazbomb commented Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020 at 7:09am

I used to dive quite a bit 3-4 decades ago off Cape Byron. And had lots of shark encounters there. But just sitting, looking down into the water, you'd see a regular procession of big stuff, always heading north. Don't know why that is (fluke maybe), but have to agree with you re the highway analogy. Anyway, nobody should be "surprised" by encounters in this area.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 7:27pm

The odds of encountering cruising juvey/sub-adult whites who like to patrol the surf line is far from ridiculously incalculable here Fire.

In fact, it's simply a function of how much time you spend in the water.

Ignorance is no longer bliss.

I'm not even sure fear is the right word.

It's more a reasonable apprehension and a having in mind a plan for what to do when you see that shape appear.

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simesy commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 9:11pm

Curious to hear your plan FR? Never considered actually formulating a plan as such, other than try to avoid it, or attempt a hail mary eye poke. I'd guess my overwhelming involuntary response though would be to shit myself

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 11:43pm

Im gonna go against my mo of not reading comments after i post mine let alone reply but damn it FR you hit upon another thing i always had up my sleeve..

My plan!

Basically our great whites are full sized down here so generally speaking if you get chomped you gone die, more so if you only one out cos no help.

The fright would kill me more than likely imo.

Dolphins have given me more sneak up pseudo heart attacks than i care to tabulate.

My plan is more what would my last words be. But instinct is somewhat out of my control.

Yeah i get where you guys are at now with surf loitering teenage noahs. Maybe play some underwater, uncool music, like they do at shopping centres to deter juvenile humans...?

I got spooked at tallows one morning out on my own, double grey and multiple gutters. I didnt last long. Water smelt fishy to..

Peace

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chrisss_91 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 7:35am

Hey Fire,
Your playing sound underwater isn’t a bad idea. I heard there was an attack on a great white by killer whales and the Rodney Fox crew mentioned that the gws has all but disappeared for a long while afterwards.

Maybe that’s the new drum lines? Speakers that play killer whale noises.

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batfink commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:50am

It’s not a terrible idea! Whales might give the area a wider berth if there are Orca sounds in the water too, which may help.

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tack616 commented Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 1:39pm

I was reading recently that GWS and other species of sharks may not return to the same area of ocean if there has been pod of Orcas. I have just attached a quick snippet from some quick research below:

"False Bay orcas shifted their attention to white sharks. Researchers had been witnessing a continued decline in white shark abundance at Seal Island (within False Bay) since 2015, but then major dips were noted in 2017 and 2018. These dips then turned into eerily prolonged white shark absences, up to 18 months in some cases."

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ojackojacko commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:07am

fire’s point about a full grown white going you is on the money. it’s simply game over. the juvies having a tester bite leave you with a chance. the recent attack at greenmount which appeared to be a juvie having a serious go shows you’ve probably got no chance in that situation either. agree with the points above about stats, humans and finding patterns. also agree with the analogy above about being more likely to be hit by a car alongside a busy road than a quiet one. stay safe everyone and all good wishes to everyone impacted by the attacks

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nomad1 commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 6:58pm

Plan?? Haha..
After 2 dolphins swam right next to each other and crept up on me at Parsons a couple years ago I know exactly what I'd do if it was a Noah.... Freeze and stare at it.

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Craig commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 7:27pm

As Stu's touched on, growing up with the attacks/deaths and always knowing this was part of the experience in South Australia and goes with the territory, over east, it's never bothered me surfing until I can't see, having moonlit sessions or paddling out in the dark. I even push my luck back home still but am always super alert to any tiny ripple or movement if doing so.

I hardly saw any sharks that I remember back in SA, but over here I've seen numerous though not to any major size. Up north it's now more in my mind than when I do trips back to SA which I guess is saying something.

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mothart commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:07pm

Huge respect to the many around Australia who have found themselves on the frontline & paddled towards the danger of an attacking shark to help a friend or stranger,
These people deserve a The Cross of Valour in my opinion

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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:16pm

At the risk of putting the mozz on us down here, why the hell is Vic so devoid of shark interactions?
I know it’s a question without an answer but it intrigues me

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peabo commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 9:08pm

Came to ask the same thing. The number of sightings registered on the Dorsal app is literally 1% of those reported in NSW.

Still, it's something I think about a fair bit in the water. As someone who surfs this area fairly regularly and has always worried about the regular presence of seals in the water, this recent video of a very large shark cruising a sometimes fun spot at Apollo Bay harbour spooked the shit out of me.
https://7news.com.au/news/vic/shark-spotted-at-victorian-beach-it-was-at...

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servant commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 11:33pm

Good question Goofyfoot.

I'm a keen and frequent surfer of the Vic Mornington Peninsula and had 2 near misses with Great whites in the last 18 months.

Probably not right to say exactly where, but this small sub-stretch of coast is a well known big shark spot to the regulars.

The first was when paddling in after surf, across a long and deep channel, called by some "no mans land" or "shark alley", I saw a large, triangular, dark, dorsal fin about 80 metres in front of me. The water surface was smooth. Not a dolphin, as dorsal fin too big and not curved. Not an Orca as dorsal fin not big enough and wrong shape. I've seen both while surfing. Also it did not, that I could see, resurface, as marine mammals do. My background is in marine zoology, I've surfed for 46 years & studied sharks and attacks etc all my life. I estimate it was 4-5 metres long and literally, Thank The LORD, it submerged and I didn't see it again, as I paddled deliberately but without thrashing to the shore some 150 metres away, all the while humbly praying that I would make it. It was the middle of a clear summer's day, warm and light northerly offshore wind. This incident shook me up and I don't surf this spot alone anymore.

The second was couple of months back (before stalag 13 lockdown) when I chose not to surf that day, but my mate went out and was surfing at "shark o'clock", ie dusk, with pink sky and sun nearly fully set. A large grey/brown mass came from along side and deep to investigate him. He saw it coming and started to kick and punch which had the shark immediately dart away and retreat. He too then paddled into shore about a 100+ metres without thrashing. It didn't follow him. He wasn't hurt at all, but this did mess him up for a few weeks. He saw it's head up too close, only arms length from him & estimated it was a 3-4 metre great white based on it's head size & shape and it's dorsal fin size and distance from it's head.

There's also a very credible local's story, only a few years old, that nearly all the regulars know of, a monster 15-18ft great white with the girth of a VW beetle that cruises this same reef, but not seen for at least 2-3 years.

I've been very Blessed that in 46 years I've never actually seen a shark while I've been surfing, but 2 in 18 months. No doubt there have been countless present and not seen, just by statistics, in all those years.

Neither of us were bitten, he was "attacked" (investigated) and he listed it on some smart phone app.
To duly inform others I've since told many about my encounter but usually I'm dismissed as an old fart. This year I was respectfully and gently telling a young surfer sitting in the line up with me, "not to be faking a shark attack out here" , because 10 minutes earlier during a long lull he did so "to have some fun". It freaked a lot of people out. It was a glassy no wind day when everyone can hear each other talking from several metres away. A smart mouthed SUP guy then paddled over to me, and barked at me, "when was that, back in the 60's you peanut?! Shut up and stop scaring him and spoiling his fun!". I assured them both that a shark attack is not fun.
I don't bother to mention it anymore and certainly not with SUPs. Hope this helps to shed some light with your intrigue.
God Bless and protect you

The Fire's picture
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The Fire commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:12am

Nice share servo.

Peace

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 6:25am

Servant you don’t need to be specific with naming breaks but we’re your sightings at Flinders/western port?

servant's picture
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servant commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 3:54pm

F

willibutler's picture
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willibutler commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 2:17am

Victoria has no where near as many Estuaries and rivers that could attract fish close to shore also doesn’t take much to realise that our fishing close to shore is no where near as good as NSW and other states. Also it’s not just shark numbers that are down there’s no where near as many whale, dolphin, bait ball sightings as other states. Maybe it’s because the continental shelf is much further out and also if sharks are making their roadtrip around Australia they might take the route around tassie. Where as other coastlines there’s only one way traffic. The only spot I’ve seen sharks around lorne in Person was two 3 m whites feeding at the base of st George river looking from above on the road. My closest encounter was when one abrublty turned towards my mate and I 1 metre away around Wilson’s prom About 11ft in size. Also we were surfing a wave around the corner from that shark video from apollo bay we got out of the surf was eating lunch and was such a shock to see that that big thing was so close to where we just were couldn’t believe it really

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aussieguy commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:40am

I've been wondering the same thing too goofyfoot. I'm a life long surfer on the Mornington Peninsula (well, okay maybe not at present - thanks Dan.). I put it down to two reasons:
1. Less food that attract sharks. I don't have any actual numbers to back this up just my observations. There just seems to be less large schools of fish and bait balls that are close enough in shore compared to what I'm reading occurs up north.
2. Water turbidity. Particularly during winter time. Not going to stop a shark approaching you but might make it far more difficult to spot them. Can give a false sense that there aren't any noahs.

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A Salty Dog commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:25am

Wifey and I used to walk the dog from Pines around to Flinders years ago. Wasn't uncommon to find chomped up seals on the beach.

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Finnbob the terror commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 6:49am

A Fisho in his dinghy last year got hassled by a 4 to 5 m white all the way to the pier at flinders.

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Finnbob the terror commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 6:43am

From what I can gather most of the juvenile whites are around the eastern side of the prom and along 90 mile beach. I have seen some crazy photos of multiple whites close to shore around snake island.
Was told most of the bigger ones travel from either the prom in almost a direct line to Cape Otway or from around seal rocks to Otway, bypassing the peninsula.
In saying that a few guys got brushed at flinders recently by a juvenile white.
A couple of years ago I was surfing a reform at Portsea late and a mate was about to paddle out but spotted a juvenile chasing something.
Not long ago was about to jump in at the rip with my son, no one out, something big and dark was thrashing around outside the peak, came up twice, we put our socks and shoes back on and went fishing.
A week or so later apparently two guys surfing there on a jet ski got chased to the beach by something big, then had to paddle to the Ski later.

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southey commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 1:05pm

I hate to shatter everyone’s confidence . Just because you don’t hear about it doesn’t mean it’s not happening . Again a spring thing and might be a sign of recent rains .
But in the last two weeks a local farmer surfing at my favourite deep water beachie alone , survived a 30 minute ordeal with an est. 5M GWS .
The area being as it is , he informed the local police and that’s as far as it went .
I believe he had to fend the shark off with his Surfboard multiple times and a miracle that he survived unscathed in such remote deep waters is a miracle .
Stoic but visibly in shock he and the local community have been definitely spooked .
There are more attacks than make the news , this isn’t Hollywood and it’s only a region for the brave .
Again the spring time appears to be the most dangerous in Southern waters .
Similar thing in SWA , many locals tied to tourism industry , unless someone goes to hospital then news barely leaves the region .

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 2:28pm

I think that incident was mentioned in this thread or one of the other shark ones. Scary shit

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lostdoggy commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 3:53pm

Seems to be an article in the standard about it but I can’t read it as it’s behind a paywall.

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tango commented Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020 at 11:59pm

Hmmm, not sure it's devoid of sharks, though I agree that there's not the # of GWS issues I thought there was (thanks Vic Hislop) before I moved here back in 02. There's been stacks of shark interactions the last year or two, and heaps don't get reported.

Just last week a fella had a six-foot 7-gill literally lob onto the tail of his board sitting at winky and stare at him. French bloke and others chased out of the water at Southside a few months ago. Mate followed in at Addis by a big white maybe 12 months ago, came right up next to him. Big white went under a foil at Pt Danger last summer. I got brushed by one that I kicked and got tangled with about 2 years ago at Posso. 12ft white cruised Lorne Pier a coupe of years ago, was on the TV news. Clubbies at Lorne had to chase a big white offshore that same summer. There's a few off the top of my head, and I bet if you had a few beers in Warrnambool or Portland the boys would give you a few dozen more. They're out there.

I also understood the shark tagging work to show the eastern Australian white shark population to move past the nursery grounds at the Prom/Corner Inlet and over to Cape Otway but not in quite the same numbers as up the east coast, and potentially further offshore.

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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 1 Oct 2020 at 3:40pm

Fair points Tango.

I guess my post was more about the last fatal
attack being in 1956. Almost 70 years ago.
Although I reckon some of the “drownings” where a body wasn’t recovered would of been victims of sharks

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rich74 commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:31pm

when a GWS attacks a surfer and successfully gets a meal, won't it learn that its easy prey and repeat that behaviour?...3 incidents and interactions with around 4metre or so GWS at Cabarita(attacking the foil boarder), Pottsville and Burleigh within 24 hours(Dorsal Facebook sites) around Sept 16th..whats to say it wasn't the same shark involved in this and some of the other tragic incidents at Greenmount, Wooli and Kingscliff as the same GWS cruised up and down the coast following whales or something else this Winter/Spring. There is obviously heaps of tagged GWS pinging the smart buoys up and down the north coast everyday this time of year, so the vast majority of them are in or near surfers but aren't involved in attacks yet capable of the same outcome.. Obviously difficult to prove either way but makes me wonder.

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bluediamond commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 8:59pm

I kinda wondered that too Rich. Similar to the 2005/6 attacks and the WA ones. Impossible to know but it definitely can't be discredited.

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Switchfoot bob commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:45am

Yes it could be the same one and also do sharks use us as toys, do sharks like to play? Do sharks communicate these things? Too many questions. We will never know.

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The Fire commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:15am

Not saying it is, but if pottsville is your local.. you've def fuct up in life.

Shit hole.

Peace

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Spuddups commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:23pm

You set a pretty high bar for a shit-hole. Pottsville is one of my favourite spots on the Tweed.

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peabo commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 9:10pm

At this point, we're all pretty confident that none of the shark deterrents available work on big sharks right?

Maybe that's where the money should be invested? Surely if we can come up with a vaccine for a brand new virus (hopefully) within a few months, the right resources can get us an effective shark repellant...

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frog commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:31am

My reading of the research suggest the shark shield would repel or discourage most investigations by large or small sharks - some would just leave, others might hang more at a distance and keep approaching then moving away annoyed by the signal. Eventually a very hungry or aggro one might have a go. The clearest finding of the research was that the average distance sharks hung away from the bait was a few metres more than for a control test, and that, if they eventually took the bait, they only did so after making many more passes back and forth before doing so. Hesitancy to attack was way higher. Even if not perfect, that might be reducing your odds of any encounter progressing to an attack by say 90 or 95%, which is huge statistically, given the chance on an encounter is low in the first place. In shallower water this successful escape scenario is more likely.

Over a deep channel with a fast breach attack from below the shark shield type device might make one in two?? divert or mistime at the last minute and save you.

What exists is probably as good as you'll get. If your odds of close encounter / attack drop from say one in 500 to one in 5,000 surfs in a less safe location through using a device, you are entering the "almost never" range of statistical probability and can relax - sort of.

Frogg

servant's picture
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servant commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:57am

Supply and demand Peabo. We surfers are literally only a tiny drop in the ocean to politicians and money people.
Common opinion is that nothing really works on big sharks such as Great whites, Tigers, big bulls etc. If you're interested maybe go onto YouTube and search "free swimming with monster (20ft?) great white shark", to put things into perspective.
Animal instinct dictates that if they are hungry, and if we're in their vicinity, we are gonners. If they're not hungry then they don't care. Or if you're a shark, same species, and of the opposite gender then you will also get significant attention.
Sharks "feel" with their teeth and nudging, so many "attacks" are simply investigations that our fragile skin (and wetsuits) cannot withstand.
If you're in Victoria perhaps contact Chairman Dan Andrews after this covid-19 fear campaign is all over and ask him for some money for a good cause...Ha, ha, dreaming.
God Bless and protect you too

willibutler's picture
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willibutler commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 2:24am

Maybe we don’t have to deter them but rather anyone wanting to spend enough time in the ocean could invest in a technology that could sense if a shark was nearby within about 20 m radius maybe could be just enough time to lift up your legs and prepare if it’s B lining straight for you?

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 5:41am

Stu, I think the west coast of SA could be the shark shield capital of the world. A mate (ex-Elliston, now McLaren Vale) said last time he was over there everyone in the water was wearing one. Maybe that’s the reason why SA has had so few fatalities over the last 20 years?
(I have nothing to do with any shark repellent company by the way)

udo's picture
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udo commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 7:11am

mothart... everyone wearing a S.S. - thats bullshit eh ?

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:15am

That’s what he said. Everyone but him wearing one at Blacks

mothart's picture
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mothart commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:19am

Yeah, that’s Bullshit,
Never surfed with anybody wearing one that I know of. Saw a few in people’s cars when they first came out, but they didn’t take off around here.
Buckey was wearing one while diving at Smokey when he was taken... think people stopped believing in them after that.
I’ve heard they all wear them at CDC on the island... but that could be more Bullshit..?

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:34am

I recall in the early 2000's that CDC was one of the 'testing grounds' for the first series of shark shields. Haven't heard anything since though. 

Perc04's picture
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Perc04 commented Friday, 9 Oct 2020 at 3:54pm

I used to wear a S.S when Scuba Diving about 5 - 10 years ago, especially when diving over at Yorkes. I was always more afraid of S.S's than I was sharks - every time those things touch you it's like touching an electric fence. If there was a bit of surge (it's rarely calm) someone elses S.S would always wrap around you, usually near your regulator or jaw. I cant imagine it being a very fun experience in a surf zone.

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:54am

Ok, I’ll contact him and tell him that the consensus on Swellnet is that he’s lying

mothart's picture
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mothart commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:17am

I don’t want to say he is straight out lying,
Maybe he had a surf out there & couple of people were wearing them.
I just haven’t experienced it.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:25am

Haven't been out there for two years, but I've never seen anyone on the EP wearing one.

factotum's picture
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factotum commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:42am

Kratom is the new shark shield!

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hamishbro commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 6:20am

Good summary, corrected some misperceptions I had about shark attack patterns in SA. Amazing that Northern NSW is now the fatal attack capital of Australia, at least in short-term numbers (sharks don’t respect borders so I count Greenmount) Can’t believe some of the sketchy solo surfs I chose to have in this, the triple fatality winter. Never again, sadly.

Shaun Hanson's picture
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Shaun Hanson commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 6:54am

Theres been a few interactions in VIC west coast of late that i am aware of mainly just fly bys or getting into a seal where surfers can see it which is enough to cause a mass exit to shore ...and one pretty full on one just east of port cambell where a big white harassed a bloke for a long time 10 minutes or more he was fending it of with his board and trying not to paddle knowing if he bolted it would go him ..a set came just in time and made to the beach in 2 waves....pretty full on story ......i think a lot more interactions happen than we hear off in other states but NSW seems to be hot spot for 2 to 3 mtr agressive ones ...lets just hope it settles down when the whales are gone ..

Pastmypeak

willibutler's picture
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willibutler commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:45am

Yea I heard he was being circled for 45 minutes but couldn’t get on the bank to get a ride in. Fuck must’ve felt like a very long time

tango's picture
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tango commented Thursday, 1 Oct 2020 at 7:46am

Poor bugger, 45 minutes is eternity when everything's going in and out of slo-mo.

Better than the alternative, though.

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DudeSweetDudeSweet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 7:15am

I don’t think the whales leaving has much bearing on likelihood of attack. Apparently the Whites lag the whales on the return journey south. Seems like the sharks do what they like , but I was told by someone with as much insight as anyone into shark behaviour that the period with the least ( tracked ) whites in Nth NSW is from Late February - Early May .

No guarantees in this world though.

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/fanning-s-emotional-advice-to-urunga-surfer...

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DudeSweetDudeSweet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 7:45am

Not many people have a healthier respect for sharks than I do . Sometimes it feels like borderline galeophobia . I’ve thought long and hard about it and I honestly believe it had something to do with my Mother filling in a few hours one day by taking me to see Jaws when I was very young - it was rated PG if you can believe it. I reckon this was then compounded soon after when we took a tour of Universal Studios in America and the huge mechanical shark used to make the same movie leapt out of the water right next to me .

In a nice twist of irony I later discovered one of my greatest passions required me to spend time in the watery habitat of one of my greatest fears. What can you do ?

Suck it up and go surfing is what you can do.

Culls work. There is no surer way to prevent death by White shark than by killing every White shark on Earth . And I don’t really even give much credence to the catastrophic environmental collapse we’d supposedly see if every single White shark was eradicated. They were meant to be critically endangered and the environment didn’t so much as falter because of it .

But I don’t imagine even the loudest advocate for a cull is calling for that extreme measure. So exactly how many sharks are we talking when people call for a cull ? A quarter of all sharks ? Half ? Most of the Whites ?

Fuck that.

If we were at least going to eat the Whites then I’d see a tiny bit of sense in the plan or at least a tad less hypocrisy. Christ knows we eat everything else to the brink of existence. But there is no way on Earth I’d consider knocking off animals just for the fact that they may interrupt with my surfing schedule.

That’s the weakest, lamest and most spineless suggestion I’ve ever heard.

People say we should follow the crocodile example and cull around metro areas - cause that’s where the most selfish, fear driven decisions seem to be made - but they don’t ever acknowledge that you still would never swim in Darwin Harbour even though they cull every problem animal. Because there is and always will be an element of danger when you allow any of these animals to live.

Get used to it . If White numbers are increasing then learn to accept it . Get some balls or ovaries and go surfing. If you start to freak out then go back to shore. People will die and I may be one of them . I’m probably more scared than you are but I’ve realised it’s a part of life and it’s something we just have to deal with and no shark should die because I’m afraid....that’s some cowardly shit.

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freeride76 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:04am

it's a bit bigger than your feels mate.

I'm not that afraid, but I'm not that keen when I hear the westpac chopper go over and think it's my mates kids who've been chomped.

fact is, the recovery plan is designed to increase the number of white sharks, and the chief habitat for those whites is the coast of NSW.

this coast is a heavily populated one with an established ocean using culture.

That makes it different to crocs, where fukall people live.

Compromise solutions for co-existence will need to be found, but "get used to it" won't cut the mustard.
Nor will kill 'em all let god sort 'em out.

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FrazP commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:06am

"Compromise solutions for co-existence will need to be found, but "get used to it" won't cut the mustard.
Nor will kill 'em all let god sort 'em out."

Agree.

I respectfully disagree that we should leave it 'as is', and not at least look at what reasonable measures can be taken to reduce risk. I mean we look to reduce risk of death and injury in all other aspects of life.

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simba commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:43am

Strong words there Dude, give it a few more years and well see if you have changed your view......ive got no answer but i still find it incomprehensible to protect the apex predator without thinking of the consequences first....cart before the horse...

simba

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DudeSweetDudeSweet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:52am

How is it bigger than my feels ? You think I’m living on another planet from yourself ?

You’re scared . That’s it and that’s all.

Exactly how many sharks are you proposing we kill so you can go play splash- splash ?

Put a number on it .

This is the kind of behaviour that has the national parks condoning off every cliff edge or drop off. The fuckers have even started spraying pink paint on tree roots which cross walking tracks so people who want the Earth to be made user friendly don’t have to take a single risk when they step outside their door into the scary world.

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Rabbits68 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:50am

Cheers for that link Blowin. What a harrowing experience that bloke had. Yet another example of how unlucky you’ve got to be to be attacked in the first place but then how lucky you've got to be to survive.

Pristine

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Cbass79 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:56am

Has anyone else considered the possible effects of the 400 odd whales that just perished in Tasmania? I am no marine expert but wouldn't this dramatically reduce the amount of food available to sharks? Apparently there around 200,000 in the eastern pacific ocean in total, so not a huge drop in numbers overall, but surely it could have a local effect? Last time it happened was in WA in 1996 (320 Whales). Can we cross reference any data from that period?

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mothart commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:00am

I don’t want to bring this up because I’m opposed to it, but shark cage diving...

When did it start?

I’ve always thought that teasing, feeding & changing the behaviour of the greatest apex predator to be a selfish & greedy (you can probably whack a few more words in there but I don’t believe scientific research belongs).

But I could be wrong...
Maybe every time a white goes to bight a human out there & gets a mouthful of cage Is a good thing... I doubt, it but you never know?

P.S I m still anti cage diving, not that I’ve done anything about it.

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ojackojacko commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:21am

agree mothart. in sth africa there’s a serious surfers movement against cage diving. they’re not allowed to feed the lions and other wild animals there for the tourists for exactly the reason of avoiding associating humans with food, and the surfers (west cape i think) are arguing for the same laws to be applied to sharks. those cage diving companies attract sharks to humans and teach them to check us out for a feed.

fortunately, we are right at the bottom of their menu. any commercial practice that moves us closer to the top should not be allowed

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garyg1412 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 1:04pm

I've always wondered about this as well although it probably doesn't apply to the juvenile attacks happening on surfers lately. Probably more a diving issue on the coasts that have a cage industry.

A shark has a brain about half the size of a dog so you have to wonder if the Pavolv's Dog theory could be applicable to a certain shark species with that black human shape in burleyed up water being the bell.

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Ray Shirlaw commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:08am

These current3 shark related threads are just turning into a clusterfuck

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goofyfoot commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:21am

Dudesweet do you think your feelings would be the same if you lived on the Nth Coast NSW and had a 10 year old son or daughter who was a frothing grom and keen to be in the water 24/7?
Tell them to harden up and don’t be a pussy?

I don’t know what the answer is but if I was in the situation I just mentioned I don’t think I could just let em surf and worry the whole time that it would be the last time I see them alive.
It’s a tough one. I won’t even step on a bull-ant or spray a spider in the house, I hate killing animals because they’re “in the way” but fuck I’d be worried up there.

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DudeSweetDudeSweet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:39am

Simba, I’ve told you about my very strong aversion to death by shark attack but I still surf. I’ve surfed and speared Cocos Keeling , Abrolhos , Murion , Dirk Hartog , Frazer , GBR , Lord Howe and all manner of other islands through the Pilbara and even a couple in the Kimberly. Solo surfed Exmouth bombie , Bluff in the inky black of pre dawn , Tombiestones on my own as hectares of bait got very visibly smashed by sharks only metres away as well as all kinds of beaches , rivermouths and reefs all along the south coast of WA . Surfed SA and Tassie and all the while carrying the fear of sharks over my enjoyment of it .

Then come to Nth NSW and crew are acting like they’re the first people to ever be confronted with the threat of shark attack. The only difference here is that people thought they were in a safe little bubble exempt from the harsh reality of nature . I understand people are scared but it’s something they’ve got to work out on their own like people have been doing elsewhere for decades. Don’t take your insecurities out on the sharks.

I’m all for non- lethal deterrents but I think It’s very , very strange to hear committed ocean lovers call for any of the remaining animals left in our wild oceans to be destroyed for any reason besides sustenance.

Goofy....mate , I’d be shitting myself but what can you do ? As with anything in this life you take risks .

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simba commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:56am

Dude im hearing you having surfed a few of the spots above that you mentioned solo or with one other but we are now talking about whites multiplying yearly which is a now thing and as it seems mainly along the ne coast.....and will excellerate in years to come....as i said no answers but the whole surfing experience that i enjoyed for a long time is under threat.Gone are the days when i would paddle out in the dark at Angas or Lennox or even caves at cactus,stupid but it was perfect caves (there were 2 others) back in the 80s....but each to there own i suppose.And yes i find it a bit scarey now when i never really worried about it before.....times have changed.

simba

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Shaun Hanson commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:17pm

Dudesweetdude you dont spear inocent fish do you ..??im appaled ..fuk they arent even atacking poeple

Pastmypeak

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mick-burnside commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:40am

A few random notes
Not many Sightings in vicco on dorsal .....not much human movement allowed here, not as many people at coastal locations..
Whale carcasses washed ashore is a common denominator for increased GWS activity.
I read in the SN comments years ago that most attacks at a certain time happened in water temperatures of 19 degrees C.
Noting recently that its possible that possibly orcas have evicted GWS from certain feeding locations, so maybe thats a part of natural change.
Possibly most GWS entering Westernport Bay, well fed from a pit stop at Seal Rocks.
If the orcas move in at Seal Rocks, localised coastline might become a hot spot!
Stay alert, and keep reading Dorsal Tracker.

mick b

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goofyfoot commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:47am

I deleted the Dorsal app a couple of years ago because I found I went through a short period of constantly checking it and it was making me paranoid. Haven't looked at it since.

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ojackojacko commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:23am

me too goofy. had it on my phone for about 2 weeks and just deleted it. they’re out there - that’s already scary enough for me

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mothart commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:55am

I truely believe that whites know we aren’t good food, otherwise we would be losing someone everyday of the week.
I believe the problem on the east coast is that they are juvenile sharks, teenagers if you will, working out what’s what & pushing boundaries, big enough now to take on marine mammals.
This problem has been amplified by shark numbers returning to pre whitefellow numbers on top of an ecosystem that is out of balance & been/being overfished.

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DudeSweetDudeSweet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:02am

I reckon we taste like crap.

We must be the buff bream / silver drummer of the mammals. If anyone is unaware about these fish they are very prolific and easy to approach. Go to a location where people new to spear fishing are found and you’ll see them exit the water with these fish either because they just want to spear something, anything to practice / experience killing stuff or they don’t know any better about how they taste ....but they only do so once.

Unless you’ve never eaten one before or are starving hungry then you won’t go near them .

Sounds like our interactions with Whites. It’s not that we are low energy sources that we aren’t eaten by the dozen, it’s cause we are two legged shit sandwiches.

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factotum commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 1:06pm

"This problem has been amplified by shark numbers returning to pre whitefellow numbers on top of an ecosystem that is out of balance & been/being overfished."

Spot on, Moth. Add climate change impacts to that mix too.

Human impacts require a human solution. And killing stuff isn't it.

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Solitude commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:56am

6 shark related articles in just over 2 weeks on swellnet is probably enough. Again just like myself and others with dorsal, I can chose not to read.

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Spacecadet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:11am

Anthony Hayes was also attacked by a GWS in February of that year surfing at Cunns a couple of hundred metres where Cameron was attacked. If not for his mate, that would have been another fatality in that year. With all of the shark attacks on the East Coast, would love to know of the value of any of the proposed shark repellent products on the market.

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thermalben commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:54am

Wasn't that at Castles?

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Spacecadet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:17am

Sorry you are correct Ben, it was at Castles not Cunns.

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mothart commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 2:11pm

Was going to say something, but not much difference, one is 200m one way, the other is 200m the other.

Worm saved his life that day,
Bravery under fire, fought the shark off multiple times

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thermalben commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 2:13pm

Totally. Incredible act of bravery.

udo's picture
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udo commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 2:16pm

Hope he got his boards back...both boards from the attack got stolen from his garage..
https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/shark-attack-victim-...

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leniam commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:11am

Might get howled down for this... but it has occurred to me that some locals may post fake dorsal app reports to keep people away. I know this would be a complete d**k act, but it's possible, or is there some feature in the app to guard against this?

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goofyfoot commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:20am

I know of one guy who posted on the app about seeing a massive white at the entrance to the heads and it was completely made up.

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stunet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:10am

I'm aware of it too. It's happened a few times at a friend's local during the height of the tourist season.

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factotum commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:57am

Interesting.

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willibutler commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 1:02pm

Last year some old guy got thrashed by a shark and it took a small bite into his board next me and lorne main beach and I tried to post it on dorsal but don’t know why it didn’t get shared

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wurtulla commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:15am

A couple of Points.

Recently watched a documentary called Sonic Sea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-jabL64UZE

Basically, the movie explains how sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life and how man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile ecosystem.

Frankly, It blew me away, as I didn't realize for example, how a drilling test in the Pacific Ocean over near California can be heard clearly all the way over in the Atlantic. or how the whales beaching themselves is due to massive industrial level noise through shipping or other dangerous noise level earworms, etc.

I suspect that its the reason the sharks, whales, and other cetaceans have changed fishing and location patterns.

For example, SA has several active O&G drilling sites still in operation. They use undersea air hammers to drill new test wells. These undersea air hammers produce an undersea sound if measured in decibels on land would cause industrial deafness.

This may be why the SA whales and large sharks move on and then return.

The other interesting point of the documentary was around the killer whales and the way their pods communicated. There is a researcher featured in the film who talks about his recordings of the killer whales in hunting mode.

It made me wonder if the undersea playing of killer whale in high-density White Shark areas may cause them to leave the area.

Anyway. Have a great day.

Surf Rinse Repeat

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Hokey Pokey commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:16am

There have been several studies into the impacts of Orcas on Whites and how this can effect their movements and behaviour - in short being that whites shit themselves and take off as soon as they appear
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-39356-2
It may sound a bit whack and far fetched at this point, but there could be a role for marine scientists to investigate the role of Orcas in displacing white numbers in localised areas such as Ballina etc., through mimicking echolocation or who knows - maybe blow up Orca pool animals might do the trick!

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wurtulla commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:55am

Thank you HP. Great research portal.

Surf Rinse Repeat

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mowgli commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:59pm

Orca sounds will probably frighten away all the other cetaceans as well, given they attack the young and even the big oldies. Saw doco once where they kill a large Grey/Minke just to eat its tongue and then they left the rest.

No known attacks on humans by wild Orcas. Still played a bit on my mind when surfing Killers in Morocco though!

nah....yeah...but, nah

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dawnperiscope commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 4:41pm

I've been wondering similar things, after reading about the GWS bailing for extended periods following Orcas doing a drive by. In particular, wondering what would happen if we bought Free Willy from Walt Conti and tied it to the shark buoy.

Whilst scouring I read this about experiments measuring the affects of Orca sounds in the water and the results aren't encouraging.

"Likewise, C. carcharias took longer to arrive and spent less time on screen when the artificial sound was played back. However, the orca calls did not elicit a change in behaviour in C. carcharias. "

Quote is from the article below, very dry, just scroll down to the discussion
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6502882/

Ride on

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Spuddups commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 12:34pm

There’s been some interesting research done on the migratory patterns of GWS. There were ones tagged in Dunedin that ended up in Tonga only a matter of weeks later.

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Justonemore commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 1:24pm

More people + More sharks= You know what happens next ???

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Shaun Hanson commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 1:38pm

Theres a lot of coast without beacons to pick up tagged sharks in VIC and SA dont think ive ever seen one there ....theres one at nearly every beach in NSW ...one shark could easily trigger multiple areas ..

Pastmypeak

simba's picture
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simba commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 1:53pm

Shaun way short of every beach mate like 21 all up and 4 of those byron ballina area.......

also this is worth a read
https://magicseaweed.com/news/shark-attack-what-to-do-in-surfings-most-h...

simba

Shaun Hanson's picture
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Shaun Hanson commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 4:52pm

I wonder if the tags register as a particular individual or just a tagged GWS ...anybody know ??

Pastmypeak

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udo commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 5:03pm
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haggis commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 5:14pm

What happened to all the shark mitigation strategies, such as shark shield and those decals that Tom Carroll had on the bottom of his board. Does anyone use these up Ballina way etc. would they stop a charging Shark attack I heard they were testing at the Neptune islands a few years ago.

I haven’t heard nor seen any shark shield products in recent years. Just not on my radar where I live. Just wondered if anyone uses them and what they think of the products? Would people be tempted to use them in the light of what is now occurring on the East Coast?

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MidWestMonger commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 6:14pm

I was at South Point 2010 when Nick Edwards was attacked. Didnt realise at the time but a seal was being pursued and swam under us and hung near the rocks using us as a human shield. Nick was bitten and received fatal wounds.
Sometimes our aquatic pastime is accidentally interfering with these creatures need to eat their normal prey. Maybe we look like competition - we do take a lot of the resources normally available.
Agree we are not preferred food - rarely consumed, but a bite is enough
Agree with DSDS, no culling
If you fear for your kids lives, buy them a skateboard and keep them out of the ocean

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calk commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 6:44pm

From Dorsal, report at Palm Beach (QLD) this afternoon:

“Public Report: I was boogey boarding in the shorey having a hell of a time when a large shark bumped my footy. No harm done. The shark was reported to be up to 4m and due to the size believed to be a white shark.“

Far out. This could’ve ended badly... Presumably viewers from high rise balconies were able to provide details on the size.

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freeride76 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 7:39pm

"How is it bigger than my feels ? You think I’m living on another planet from yourself ?

You’re scared . That’s it and that’s all.

Exactly how many sharks are you proposing we kill so you can go play splash- splash ?

Put a number on it ."

Couple of things, and I don't want to get into any emotional polarised argument.
Just want to put a couple of things forwards.

This kind of polarised argument: either we get used to it and learn to live with increased attacks with grace (or whatever the phrase was) or we cull 'em all is not only not helpful; it describes a kind of fantasy land. where binary options are all we have.

As I've said repeatedly in these shark threads, shark management has been happening in NSW since '37. Nets, lethal.
Thats a cull.
Been happening for almost a century.

So we are almost a century into shark management in NSW.

Shark control program in QLD has been happening since '62.
Lethal, sharks killed. Thats another cull.
Over a half a century.

So this idea that managing sharks is somehow some kind of "cowardly shit" , that does describe a planet that I don't live on.

In 2015 I sat in a meeting with 200 of my fellow surfers and listened to speaker after speaker from all kind of oceanic experience detail how the shark situation had changed up here. People wanted something done, and something was done.

These are my people, in my community. That was not "cowardly shit". Thats the way the state govt and DPI scientists attempted to frame it at the time but as a result of that meeting and the intense pressure it placed on local pollies to act the State Govt instituted the tagging program, which then became the Smart Drum line array.

Nets were trialled.

Shark management has been incredibly effective, in NSW, in QLD. So yes, the partial culls do work.

The question is not, do we cull sharks.

We already do that and have been for decades.

The question is, is it working?
Is it right for all areas?- might be right for Lennox to Evans, might not be right for South West Rocks for eg.
Do we need to tweak it?

etc etc etc.

We're well past this being about individual feels.

For the record though, I never saw Jaws, have no particular fear of sharks. Seen tens of thousands in a life devoted to the ocean, including stints on trawlers, wet-liners, diving, fishing , surfing etc etc.

I've been bumped several times, knocked off boards, buzzed by whites. It's not a pant-shitting experience for me going surfing. I keep my eyes open and if things feel weird I go in.

I've also seen the toll these attacks take on people. I don't see much grace in people turning grey on the beach while a handful of traumatised first responders wonder what the fuck happens now.

If the risk of that can be reduced, and it can be, and if ways can be found to do that non-lethally and without harming the ecosystem then I'm for it.
If it comes down to a few juvey or sub-adult white sharks getting shafted, then so be it too.

That was actually the proposal put to me by one of Byron Bays most famous greenies out the back at the Point. I won't mention his name but he thought we should do a bit of old school fishing and teach them to avoid inshore habitats.

There are a range of views, and I do respect that.

Also for the record though, I think the Smart Drum line program is the best available compromise we have at the moment, and is giving us invaluable real-time data about the spatio-temporal distribution of white sharks in this area.

I'm looking into shark deterrent devices.

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ayeaye commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:10pm

Very well said

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halleys-comet commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 11:03pm

Check out the Rpela FR

daComet

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hamishbro commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 3:25pm

Great response.

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Michael Bourne commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:25pm

'South Australia has become a safe place to surf'

Really? Again...

https://www.smh.com.au/national/shark-attacks-surfer-in-south-australia-...

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2628188/Stunned-surfer-survives...

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/shark-attacks-surfer...

There are still shitloads of incidents. And, the ab divers are getting buzzed more and more, but its not only them who have genuine concerns, so do plenty of surfers that I know, who still deal with it the best that they can.

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Halfscousehalfc... commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:25pm

It’s so easy why shark attacks have jumped..... whale herds have increased. And Whale migration can sustain a larger gws population, northern nsw is the furthest point east and closest to the east coast current. The oceans Super healthy.....I will never wish a shark attack on anyone but we’re only doing a recreational sport.... it’s not do or die...whilst whales and sharks on the east coast is the natural way... leave them to be

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bluediamond commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 8:42pm

For sure it could be the whales, but just wondering if anyone actually know the relationship of why the sharks follow the whales if that is the case. Do they pack hunt a particular baby whale, or are they just cruising along waiting for one that's weak and sick? I'm not convinced it's the whales that they're following, but that it's more a coincidence their feeding patterns coincide with the whale migration, and when one does cark it, they are opportunistic and go hell for leather on it. But yeah, it's just wild speculation and with no evidence or research. I'm still leaning more to the fact they're not getting a good enough feed further out due to lack of food compared to the past, therefore they're heading in closer for the smaller fish that are in bigger schools closer in, which also coincides with the whale run. I think. But yeah, could be well off on that and i'm sure someone can correct me.

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truebluebasher commented Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 12:28am

Great Alternate take by Stu + crew are on fire...great read guys
tbb has been working on a time table of sorts for Ballina & is exhausted...
bluediamond opened a packet of Bait Worms.

Here's a few lesser known factors orchestrating Ballina Hot Spot.
7 undersea Cables detour & merge off Ballina narrowing to Sydney.
The cable heat attracts crabs & current detours Salmon migration.
Experts forever dismiss undersea cable concerns...
New cables are now Black'n'yellow + Buried /Covered..(We lied?)

Shipping & Evans' stirs Upwellings fueling Krill for Whale Migration.
South Xmas ships increase to crowd out return Whale Pinball Season.
Increased collisions ramp NSW Coast > inshore Carcasses.

tbb could go on with Fads & EAC Research Acorn array of Buoys...
Basically you got 15 tiers of Shark servos ... some rows of 40 or more.
Each Row bundles toward shore & much more are added each year.

Dam / River reads to Piers / Jetties / Pontoons / Bridges / Outfalls
These have been exampled as Hot Spots since 1880's
Boats, Rudders, Oars, Boards, Fishing Rods all chomped since 1880's
Paddle / SUP / Kayak / Foils to use Seaways & keep clear of Surf crews?

GWS often chews up the craft...leaves the 'Lame' Human Snack
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX8GrE7Mg2s
Long history of rudder / fin angst...again human is fine.
Surfers sit closest to Fins more than other Oar craft.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTgKkPCKjzE

*Can crew share Shark relations as in Attacks on Fins & Oars.
Study would prove low cost & essential for Surfers whole.

Attacks on Fins (re: Legs) may be to disable a perceived threat.
Similar to raising a hand before a dog! They will rear up.
Sharks hear & see Strokes, Oars & Fins as predatory traits.
tbb reckons these fin attacks are the new norm...so so many!

Attacks on Upper Board Rails (now less) may confuse prey outline

If yer looking to excuse GWS hunting radar or intent.
GWS can pluck a baby bird from the surface...eyesight is fine!
Even grab prey off the shoreline in the dark.

Notice 100% of what man builds & dumps in ocean attracts Sharks.
[FADS] Fish Aggregating Devices can be a simple Hat or Palm Frond.
Govt FADS (*Excess amount)- shown as Buoys / kms from shoreline >
0 /*.5 / 2 / 10 /*15 /*35 / 60 /80 /115 /160 /235 / 275 /325 /375 / 512 /1000.
Possibly 100 shark servos now and could double to 200 in next 10 years.
Buoys resemble elliptical size boards + leggy from Sharks beneath view.

tbb thinks ocean goers need to take stock...review is well overdue.
Shark Timetable is still on but tbb needs to throw some Buoys overboard.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020 at 1:05am

Fascinating reading TBB. That first vid is terrifying. Imagine what was going through his mind in those minutes in the water. Note he didn't make any attempt to swim throughout the whole ordeal, and the shark left him alone. That second one is interesting. It definitely hit's the back of the board where the keel is, even though the paddle is dropping into the water rhythmically up the front where he's sitting. There seems to be something in that for sure. Love you're thoroughness. Digging up some treasures!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:01pm

lots of fish migrating along the NSW coast during winter/spring.

doubt the juvey/sub-adults in the surf zone are whale eaters.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:03pm

Yeah i think so too FR.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:07pm

but no doubt adult whites are ready to chow down on calves or sick or dead adult whales.
\
Thought I might have seen Orcas off the Point yesterday.

they were here this time last year.
https://www.outoftheblueadventures.com/killer-whales-ballina/

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:58pm

Unreal hey. What a treat.....even better if they happen to find a snack with a white belly.....could help solve a few problems up there for the moment.

Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 10:51pm

It may have been mentioned in the comments already, but Captain Quint died in the storyline of the book and the movie. The marine biologist (I’ve forgotten his name) died in the book but survived in the movie. The police chief survived in both..

etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 7:47am

My recall of the book (20+ years since I read it):

Hooper, Marine Biologist dies in the shark cage
Captain Quint dies when Jaws sinks the boat
Brody, Police chief, kills shark and makes it to shore

In the book Hooper and Brody’s missus have an affair.

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 11:34am

Spot on, fellas. Questions were asked before.

Woulda been funny if the film had Dreyfuss chocking Mrs Brody!

He got his comeuppance in the book, I s'pose.

Johan Wohlleben's picture
Johan Wohlleben's picture
Johan Wohlleben commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 12:03am

The possible culprits should be culled. Simple, if a repeat alert over a day or a week or still there after an attack. Might send a message to the juveniles and subsequent offspring. That’s a cull but specific.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 5:44am

It’s a good thing Orcas don’t prey on Humans. Those things are the real bosses of the ocean. They kill great whites for fun. Had a big one breach suddenly about 20mtrs away from me last year. Scared the living crap out of me. It could have swallowed me whole if it had wanted to. Interestingly enough there were some Hectors Dolphins swimming round us that disappeared about a minute before the Orca arrived. I guess Orca eat dolphins.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 5:49am

...also it’s a good thing sharks can’t chase you up the beach like Sea Lions. Had one bull chase me out of the water, up the beach, then way up the track to were my mate’s tent was. I left him there Haha! My mate was having a nap later on and reckoned the Sea Lion was trying to get into his tent. Those fuckers weigh up to 500kg so it must have been somewhat disconcerting. Anyway, he stayed there for an hour or two then finally decided to go back into the water to harass someone else.

ojackojacko's picture
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ojackojacko commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 6:45am

remind me to stay tf away from u around the ocean spuddups :)

wax-on-danielson's picture
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wax-on-danielson commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 7:32am

I wonder if SA has since had attacks that no one knows about, due to a remote location and being gobbled whole. Victim on the missing person board at the whollopers.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 8:29am

I wonder how many times this has happened all around the country?
For swimmers as well. Here one second, gone the next.

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 11:07am

Surfer got bitten down near Port Lincon when I was down there 2015 or 16 , non fatal from memory , also lots incidents and encounters on EP since then. Perhaps just less media hype than encounters in other locations? This article is misrepresenting the situation but no point letting the truth get in the way of a good story is there? The Swellnet team chasing some SA Tourism dollars perhaps ? ha ha

JM's picture
JM's picture
JM commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 11:34am

I remember when whites were made a protected pieces. At the time they admitted there wasn't even details on how many existed! Talking to fishos and surfers over recent years, there are many more around now. Time to seriously talk about a cull.

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 11:48am

Who can forget this classic?

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/surfers-survive-atta...

If you know where they were surfing, well, Jeezus...

I bet a few beers went down.

Well, probably not.

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 12:16pm

I think "the fat kid from hey dad" is a teetotaller these days so maybe just extra push ups and a kale smoothie to celebrate life that night?

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 12:27pm

Yeh facto, and the spot that the kids learn to surf is just opposite! Years ago some kite boarders came over and were flying in and out there for days, falling off, flopping around, etc, wild. In tiny, glassy, summer swells the neutron brothers and grom mates would surf a different little Aframe, floating around out there all day. The highway to hell.

The home and away mystery... stupe’s the dude blowie dundee dude for sure...

And this shot in the article... that boulevard vacuum, gut suck, tricep side pose... sans spray tan... again...

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2628188...

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 12:34pm

Hey fellas, old young mate is BIT. That's the mail.

Let the old new good times roll.

He's a good egg.

Cheers!

Burp!

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 1:10pm

Yeh he’s still charging too, but they have to come in.. the injarees get ‘em... I have mercy... well... eventually... it’s always fun and games!

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 1:39pm

Me & da Gull might be visitors slash clients sooner rather than later!

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 1:55pm

Haha... by all means please, I’ve got the red carpet ready!

And it’s a nice looking stick for sure facto, the zebra. However, now I know that you won’t believe me, but have you ever thought of sawing it in half? Because, and again, I know that you won’t believe me, but there’s a whole new market for undersized ‘storms’!!!??? Gronk dudes are ordering miniature ‘storms in a teacup’ so to speak, adding their own ‘twist’ to them... real desert dundee doggers, to ride the real biggies, while rescuing other dudes and shite... there’s always a back story...

And amazingly they’re selling like hot cakes, for sale all over the internet... again and again and again and again and again... did I say again... in a nutshell???!!

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 2:03pm

Micky B!
You’ve lasted a week without getting banned again. Well done!

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 2:08pm

There’s a ‘backstory’ foot... I’m still working on it but... it’s comin’... again...

And please tell me that your ‘storm’ is bigger than 5’ 6”... not like them dudes with the little ones... the infamous ebay and gumtree ‘deserted storms’...

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 5:30pm

DS 5'6".......this is going downhill fast Craig

mothart's picture
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mothart commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 6:52pm

Sitting here with a beer, looking out at exactly where Monkey was attacked maybe a K away,
they all dealt with it well, or at least the best they could, Monkey especially.

Mick mentioned the kiddies wave... it’s real close, but somehow I feel there is a fence there... which could be mind over matter. I paddle 3/4 of the way out there all the time to the kiddie wave, been out there more in the last year than the real waves on the coast... like I said, mind over matter...
still didn’t join the crew out at Blacks today

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 11:49pm

Yeh, the mind as you say moth. I would never paddle out at the groms spot that you are describing, for some, non substantiated reason, I see it as a kind of feeding hole, a food chain focal point. Nannygai cutlets, I've seen them caught, and I then think snapper, then up the gulfs, Port Auggie, Aldinga, Big Fred. Yet I'd happily, much rather paddle out at blax, having constructed some totally fabricated ok zone in my head, despite having had that totally disproven, even before and after the worst outcome attack.

Not long after that incident, I surfed there with a mate who totally freaks about sharks. He was off it right away, wanting to go elsewhere, but it was a weird swell, with some abnormally big waves for there looking way more entry/ridable than normal, which turned out to be true. His leggy snapped on a blown take off on the peak, and he was fucking amping. I bolted into the bay to get his fast disappearing, washing away board. By the time I got it, I was out into no mans land, and the way the water was moving, the quickest way to him ( he'd made it to, and was hanging outside the peak screaming at me), was to go way down the bottom, and back out with the current. So I grovelled through a sea of suds, finally getting back to the hole after the end bowl. I did start thinking during that paddle in the suds and foam, that I was a drifting bait in the food highway. Yet, he went in, I hung for a couple more. I would never do that where you are describing, for no good reason other than my own mental idea. Bonnie's old boy watched the whole thing, was never once tempted, thought we were crazy. Sick waves though.

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Shaun Hanson commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 7:30pm

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Eric Perez
Date: 26 September 2020 at 12:21:59 pm AEST
Subject: QSIA Members Update #216, 26 Sept 2020

v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}

QSIA News Post

 

The GULL provides another written piece of common sense around the management of sharks.

 

 

 

Early in June, Peter Hannam, environment editor for the Sydney Morning Herald (and The Age in Melbourne) wrote an article about results of research into great white sharks.

He began: “Great white sharks are picky eaters, altering their diet to meet changing needs as they grow. Mammals are of little interest until the animals mature and bites on humans are likely to be mistakes.”

I thought at the time this was a fairly anthropomorphic thing to say, attributing to a shark the human quality of being able to make a “mistake”. What? The shark did not mean to bite the person involved? Clearly, it did. Or did the shark make the “mistake” of thinking the person was one of its usual food items. If so, does that matter, given the fact a great white bite can be so catastrophic? It seemed a facile and intellectually shallow statement.

Yet, attributing bites on humans to a mistake on the part of the shark was apparently so important it was elevated to the second sentence in a lengthy article. The heading on the article read: “Study shows surprising diet of sharks with little interest in mammals”.

He quoted a researcher as saying “From about 2.5 metres (in length), they (great white sharks) start to include marine mammals” in their diet (before then eating mostly fish). “It’s definitely not the case of sharks targeting humans [as] what it might have been portrayed – it’s usually a case of mistaken identity.”

Though the interview with the researcher was conducted before the event, Peter Hannam wrote this article the day after a 60-year-old surfboard rider was killed by a great white shark near Kingscliff in northern New South Wales on Sunday, June 7.

On July 4, less than a month after Peter Hannam’s SMH article, a shark fatally bit a spear fisherman off Indian Head on Fraser Island.

On July 11, five weeks after the SMH article, a great white fatally bit a young surfer off Wilson’s Headland near Wooli in northern New South Wales.

On July 17, less than six weeks after the SMH article, a great white leapt from the water to pull a 10-year-old boy off a boat in northern Tasmania (though he escaped serious injury when his father jumped into the water after him and scared the shark off).

On July 31, at Bunker Bay in south-west WA, a great white attacked a surfer, ripping his leg but kept at bay long enough for the surfer to be rescued by other riders.

On August 15, a great white attacked a woman surfing at Shelly Beach, near Port Macquarie. Her husband paddled over and punched the shark till it let go.

Of course, another fatal attack on a surfer by a great white occurred in fairly shallow water off Greenmount Headland on the Gold Coast on September 8.

That is four fatal attacks and two life-threatening attacks in three months, added to fatal attacks on a diver off Esperance in WA in January (by a great white) and a swimmer at North-West Island off Gladstone in April.

So far this year, there have been 16 unprovoked shark attacks in Australia, leaving six people dead and five injured. All mistakes?

Everyone in Queensland clearly remembers the spate of shark attacks on people swimming from yachts in idyllic Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays in 2018: an initially unreported attack on September 10, after which the man involved got himself to hospital; an attack on September 19 on a 46-year-old woman who was lucky to survive; an attack on September 20 on a 12-year-old girl who lost a leg; and an attack on November 5 on a 33-year-old medical doctor who died.

In October 2019, in nearby Hook Passage, two British snorkellers were attacked, one losing a foot.

It is ludicrous to argue these sharks are biting people because of “mistaken identity”. Any empirical evidence for that assertion? No, not likely.

Are great whites mistaking surfers for seals in northern New South Wales, the Gold Coast or Fraser Island? Hardly. Do sharks think swimmers and snorkellers in the crystal-clear waters of the Whitsundays are big fish? Hardly credible.

Let’s just agree that sharks are opportunistic feeders: if hungry, they will feed on any manageable form of prey, wherever and whenever they come across it. That might be a fish or a dolphin or a dead whale or a human.

Another argument in defence of sharks is that their bites are often tentative or stimulated by curiosity and, once they realise they’ve made a “mistake” and bitten something that is not a usual prey item, they will swim away.

Without going into too much detail about such a recent tragedy, surfers who witnessed the Greenmount attack said there was virtually no flesh remaining on the surfer’s leg between hip and knee. Hardly a tentative bite.

And multiple deaths or injuries suggest a motive at play other than curiosity or mistaken identity.

At Kirra on the Gold Coast on 27 October 1937, three young men were body surfing at the back of the beach break when two were killed by a shark within moments of each other. Later, a 3.6-metre, 850-kg female tiger shark was caught with human remains in its stomach.

On the night of 13 March 1977, two men clinging to the outside of an icebox after their launch had been run down and sunk by a freighter in Moreton Bay were taken by a shark. A third man, inside the icebox at the time, survived.

In July 1983, three crew members from a sunken trawler were floating on a surfboard, pieces of foam and a life-ring near Lodestone Reef, off Townsville, when two were taken by a large tiger shark (or sharks).

In early November 1988, a 62-year-old man and his two sons, 33 and 17, were fishing in a motor cruiser when it sank in rough seas off North Keppel Island in Central Queensland. They had a four-metre dinghy but took it in turns to hang off the side, two at a time, because it was being swamped when all three were in it.

The father and his 17-year-old son were both taken by a tiger shark (or sharks) and a rescue helicopter crew saw two sharks apparently trying to capsize the dinghy when they came in to winch the survivor to safety.

The world’s worst recorded attack was on survivors of the World War 2 heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis. It was torpedoed in the Pacific, near Guam, on 29 July 1945, sinking in 12 minutes. An estimated 900 of its 1,196 crew got into the water but most of them with just life-jackets to keep them afloat. Four to five days later, 317 were rescued, after many drowned but some men – estimated by survivors as somewhere between “dozens and 150” – were killed by sharks, mostly oceanic whitetips.

None of those multiple-victim attacks was a case of mistaken identity, any more than attacks in the surf zone are likely to be. Just opportunistic.

And shark numbers are increasing, in the surf zone and elsewhere.

In the 2020/2 edition of Queensland Seafood, we reported New South Wales beach fishermen are seeing increasing numbers of juvenile great whites in the surf zone.

And in just four days in early July, contractors tagged and released 14 great whites hooked on “smart” drumlines along just 40km of coast between Lennox Head and Evans Head (south of Byron Bay). That’s four days, 14 sharks, just 40km of coastline.

In four years of trials between Lennox and Evans Head that ended in July, researchers caught, tagged and moved further out to sea more than 400 target sharks (whites, tigers and bulls). Of those, 333 were great whites.

The Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water & Environment – no, I kid you not, it’s the Department of AWE – has a national recovery plan in place for great whites, despite the fact they don’t know how many great whites there are in waters around Australia and don’t have any way of measuring whether that unknown number is increasing or decreasing.

Based on the fact more than 300 great whites have been tagged in a small area of the NSW North Coast, I would say the species is relatively abundant.

After the September 2018 Cid Harbour attacks, in less than a week three drumlines caught six sharks, five of them tiger sharks over two metres long. Cid Harbour is now a declared “No Swim” zone while experts study shark prevalence and behaviour in the area.

On reefs throughout North Queensland waters, both commercial and recreational fishermen complain about growing numbers of sharks stealing hooked fish on the way to the boat.

While researchers often want to focus on exotic shark species like scalloped hammerheads, the common species fishermen see regularly are increasing in numbers.

What is being done round the country to protect sharks clearly is working – but putting people at greater risk.

Peter Hannam’s concern seems to be that shark attacks will generate more lethal controls on sharks. He is particularly concerned about shark nets.

For example, he wrote in May 2018 that: “The utility of shark nets is again being challenged, with the north coast meshing trial snagging just two targeted sharks out of 143 animals caught in its second year. Separate data from State archives going back to 1950 also reveal almost 20,000 animals have been caught in shark nets, including in the 51 nets off the beaches of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. Many of the creatures caught are now endangered, such as grey nurse sharks.”

In August 2019 he wrote an article that began: “Nets at popular NSW beaches were almost 20 times as likely to ensnare a non-targeted animal such as a turtle or dolphin than a large shark, with many of the trapped animals on the threatened species list, new data shows. The State’s Shark Meshing Program (SMP), which covers 51 beaches from Newcastle to Sydney and Wollongong, trapped 395 animals during the period between September 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019, according to the Department of Primary Industries. Of that total, just 23 of the animals were one of the targeted species: white, bull or tiger sharks. Twelve of those sharks were killed in the nets.”  In December 2019 he said, in a story headed “’We fear the very dramatic thing’ – Shark nets found to be ineffective” that: “Nets off NSW beaches trap 16 times more non-target species than the three dangerous sharks they are aimed at, with little measurable benefit in terms of improving human safety. These are among the findings of a study published on Wednesday in the People and Nature journal that examined the Shark Meshing Program, first introduced in 1937. The nets cover 51 beaches between Wollongong and Newcastle, including Sydney.”

And, on August 1 this year, in an article headed “ ‘Senseless’: Nets catch 480 animals including many protected species”, he began: “The number of animals caught in NSW’s shark nets jumped more than a fifth in the latest season, trapping more than 180 threatened or protected species.

The shark meshing program run by the Department of Primary Industries found 480 animals were caught in the 51 shark nets placed near popular beaches between Wollongong and Newcastle during the September to April netting period.

“That total was up from the 395 caught during the previous year, and was the largest catch since 2015-16, according to Lawrence Chlebeck, a marine biologist with Humane Society International*. Almost 60 per cent of the animals caught died in the nets, a slightly higher proportion than in previous years

“Coastal beaches have had shark nets since the 1930s, targeting white, bull and tiger sharks that are considered a threat to humans. Of the 480 animals trapped last season, only 50 were targeted sharks, mostly whites.”

Fifty sharks, most of them great whites – that’s interesting.

The bottom line is I happen to believe human life is more precious than fish life.

I also believe that, unless communities in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland are prepared to lose surfers, divers or swimmers every year – and see more tourist meccas declared “No Swim” zones – then something smarter has to be done about managing not just the sharks but also the risk they present.

Let’s pay attention to professional fishermen – people who are out on the water every working day of their life – when they talk about seeing more and more sharks in their usual fishing spots. And, when the inevitable, predictable attacks happen, let’s not dismiss them as “mistakes”.

* Humane Society International is the group that took successful court action last year to prevent lethal shark drumlines being set in waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. (The court action was funded by the US-based Shark Conservation Fund, sponsored in turn by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Inc).

 

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Pastmypeak

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 8:31pm

Gotta tl;dr that shit ffs..

Peace

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Thursday, 1 Oct 2020 at 11:46am

Welp, two crankey comments in a week, time to vacate the forums again. Please accept my humble appologies, those who reside in potsville and those who post textwalls.

:-)

Peace

wallpaper's picture
wallpaper's picture
wallpaper commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 10:47pm

congratulations on getting from ' a fairly anthropomorphic thing to say' to 'unprovoked attacks' .

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 7:14am

Thanks Shaun. Yes, while the smart drum lines have been a great research tool, this years attack and fatality statistics suggest they are not working as hoped to protect human life. While we will never know how many sharks attacks have been prevented since they were rolled out, this year’s attacks are unacceptable in my mind. We can’t tame nature, we can’t eliminate all risk, but the fact is going for a surf now in Northern NSW isn’t what it once was and won’t be until something changes. The risk is far higher. And as you have suggested, the ideology that casts humans as ugly and ignorant sin-bearing destroyers of the natural environment (yes greed does do this) and sharks as some kind of exalted marine god is not just in vogue, it is dominant and pervasive among many of those who make the decisions which matter, and many journalists (though not all). Sharks are big fish. That’s all they are. We have been incredibly fortunate in Australia to have the wealth to protect and rebuild our marine ecosystem. Controlling shark numbers in a more methodical way than at present (traditional drum lines) would not somehow wreck this achievement. If you want to do something for the marine ecosystem far more powerful than campaigning against shark control, abandon single use plastic and watch where you buy your seafood - canned and fresh - from. Let’s not let guilt for how we’ve damaged he’s the planet get in the way of practical measures to save lives from a dangerous predator. However, good luck to us trying to convince the politicians of that. It’s going to take more deaths and a significant organised and united campaign to get them to override their bureaucracies. Can we find the middle ground? Or should we all just buy shark shields?

Pt Danger's picture
Pt Danger's picture
Pt Danger commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 1:48am

So much insightful info in one spot. I found this worth watching so just adding it. It's mostly on bull shark research in Sydney Harbour and their migration northwards in the winter months. https://vimeo.com/31044810?fbclid=IwAR0hTSkeh1ves5DcvKyZWQQevPQT5_oBQWUu...

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 9:09am

Pt good vid ,well worth a watch.

simba

wallpaper's picture
wallpaper's picture
wallpaper commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 6:23pm

hysterical garbage. thought the music might have been a clue. loved the bit about ' to people who live in sydney, it's the most spectacular place on earth'. retch. if you're scared of sharks don't go surfing. end of. shark culls to make a few idiots feel better for a few minutes? grow the fuck up.

p.s. just a general observation. not aimed at anyone in particular

Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 6:56am

Agree a long winded way to say unprovoked attacks ...but some interesting figures related to netts there ...

Pastmypeak

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 9:10am

Shaun good read mate.

simba

Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 4:56pm

Good read cheers Shaun. Figures for QLD nets were published back in the day. In the first 1/4 century they had them in they had caught over 30,000 sharks, over 500 dolphins, almost 600 dugongs, about 3,600 turtles and almost 14,000 rays.

As for Blax, for me that is one of the spookiest waves I have ventured into, solo and in a crowd, much worse than similar conditions at cactus, South coast WA, or offshore bombies in WA.

shraz's picture
shraz's picture
shraz commented Tuesday, 13 Oct 2020 at 5:54pm

If you think that's heavy try a few of the lesser-known breaks on the offshore reefs and islands scattered all along the SA coast. Or don't, at least Elliston has a hospital right there in town.

I think the offshore reefs and islands of SA do provide the main hunting grounds for the whitey's so that they don't often venture into the usual surfed breaks tucked around a corner or in a sandy bay. There's no other explanation for why attacks were/are so rare at the more popular (and remote) breaks. That plus you won't see anyone for days till it goes offshore! unlike NSW/Qld where crew will happily surf 1ft slop.

Bronzeys are more likely to have a nudge in close where the majority of surfers are but if they're not protected it explains why there's not so many around.

Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster commented Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 10:51pm

..

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 4:12pm

[FACTCHECK]
Strongly advise to conduct own Shark Attack files & triple check...
Taronga Shark attack file!...is far from being current, reliable or accurate.

Taronga Shark File (vs) Qld news (2018-20) reported Attacks
2018 Zoo ~ 1 {r.i.p} + 3 injured (vs) Media ~ 1 {r.i.p} + 6 injured
2019 Zoo ~ 8 injured (vs) Media ~12 injured
2020 Zoo ~ 2 {r.i.p} + 3 Injured (vs) Media ~ 3 {r.i.p} + 3 injured

(Lists About 60-70%) That's hopeless recording by OZ renowned animal institute.
(Disclaimer! tbb has visited zoo.) No bearing on their very light Shark Table!

Real Headline : [ No end in sight for 2 year spate of monthly Qld Shark attacks ]
Doubt if Qld Newspapers are keen on running tbb's upfront pre Election shirtfront.
Goes without saying this is a record spate of Shark Attacks & should rightly be news!

Reminder on Shark Tags...(SLS NSW > Sharks are active at Dawn & Dusk?)
NSW Smart Drums only start 1 hour after Sunrise & are home 2 hrs before Dusk.
NSW report releasing Sharks out to sea (Photos & Vids only show shoreline releases)
Tags are Cat Bells for Prey + Dinner Bell for Orca (Sharks must alter behaviour)
Meaning tagged sharks live a robotic unnatural defensive desperate existence
Cat Bells don't represent natural predatory tracking. (VR4G is Neutered if you like)

Sure, we'll use the data but must factor new 24/7 Totally Wired lifestyle.(Buzz Buzz)
2025 FAQ's
Do tagged Sharks avoid Whales due to Orca wolf whistles? "Here...Pussy! Pussy!"
Can surfers use their Shark Shields to remote control Tagged Sharks to clear lineups?
Do android Sharks dream of downloading Shark Shield Surfers?
Is it true that tagged Sharks can hot seat Shark Shield Surfers?
file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/Sub47_att2%20(5).pdf

Point is few tally Shark Fatalities nor Crosscheck crosswired Shark tech.(Who cares?)
Who will win : Left wrist Magnetic powerband (vs) right wrist VR4G Power Band..
What if yer left Handed? Do you put the VR4G on the Left & Magnet on the Right
tbb thinks VR4G waves to the sky & Magnet gets immersed..(Busy Lifeguards?)
SLS NSW Jingle : "Wave yer Left hand in the air & dip yer right hand under there?"

WA / NSW : Now recommend using a "Personal Deterrent" to trigger Tagged sharks?

WA / NSW sharksmart mitigation only runs 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Swim / Paddle /Surf Events operate in Public Bathing Reserves outside Tech hours.
Meaning Govt must offer (appropriate) a/h mitigation to insure beach events.
Peer industry recommended...Don't matter if it's shark shampoo! (About compliance)
Attack on Govt beach is covered by insurance if a/h care is only half bad.

Notice Qld Flags display Tide Times, Currents & Temp + Stinger warnings.
This is to prevent Spinal injury law suits..."Shallow Bank > Careful mate!"
Shark Shields are nothing more than sketches on Mr squiggle's Chalk Board!
Govt push shark shampoo to avoid a/h Sign [Keep out of Sharky Tourist surf spot]

If Shark Patrols were serious they'd begin at Dawn as they themselves prioritise.
Surfers / Swimmers want this. (Alas Drones are also blind folded at Dawn & Dusk )
It's by surrender that Sharkbanz are being pushed onto a/h surf & swim crews.

Govt will never ever patrol Local Surfer's Peak Shark Hours or big surf! (OHS issue!)
Apart from State Govt bankrolling $3m WSL Shark Park Action Play Sets!
Surfers need to pool resources to best timetable surf sessions around the sharks.

Mango Carafino's picture
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Mango Carafino commented Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 5:49pm

Swift, Silent, Deadly. Anywhere, Anytime, No Beach Out of Reach. Enough said.

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megzee commented Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 6:47pm

ouch Mango....I think you have ended the thread mate...

Most people don't listen with the intent to understand
They listen with the intent to reply.

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goofyfoot commented Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 7:03pm

“ Swift, Silent, Deadly. Anywhere, Anytime, No Beach Out of Reach. Enough said.”..

I’ve seen Mango Manny patrolling the Bounty, Sky Garden and Poppies 2 many a time, he’s pretty much just described his normal night out on the prowl.
Once Mango and I drank an English gentleman’s bottle of Bacardi that he said we could have shot out of. He of course fired up when he returned back to the table a bit later.. big mistake. Mango Mango took off his yellow lensed sunglasses (this is night time mind you) and stared at him like a Rottweiler would to a pussy cat. Enough said.

Remember the German Shepard you had at Dreamland Mango? What happened to him? He was a great pooch

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Mango Carafino commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 4:47pm

A old Kiwi told me he grew up surfing with big sharks around. He said its ok when they let you see them. Its when you know they are there and they do not let you see them that you have to worry.

How many attacks have there been where anyone really saw it coming?

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 7:06am

Tigers aren’t really stealth hunters I don’t think. Sure they might sneak up on things if they get the chance but I reckon it’s more a case of just getting shit into their garbage bin mouths any way they can.

Mara was a character . I didn’t know her well but used to see her all the time. Pretty hard to miss her in that fluoro pink neck to foot Lycra body suit she used to rock. RIP Mara.

99 percent of the sharks I’ve seen in Indo were out Nusa Dua. A few big units getting around along the edge of that reef. Some deep water not far away. It’s not uncommon to see reefies doing spins in the lineup. Always entertaining.

BTW....anyone know what happened to Sylvain the Frenchman from Bali ? Goofy foot , rode Tom Carroll epoxy boards , Good looking fella . Ex model in Australia apparently. Last I saw him - February this year - he had a horrible looking open wound from an infection in his stomach and was still surfing in the wet season runoff. Then he disappeared. I was a bit worried about that cause he was always around. Good bloke . Always had a unique philosophy towards life’s peccadilloes.

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n!ck commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 8:20am

Interesting article and comments.
I was surfing the mid in SA last summer with about 5 others out on a week day. The shark spotting plane hit the warning siren and circled us a number of times until we started heading in... very disconcerting but also strangely exciting. We paddled fast and watched shadows for some time afterwards but never saw a fin. That week there were multiple reported sitings of a large shark in that stretch.
There was a small / baby shark about 1m long hanging around that break in the shallows last summer too.
Down near Goolwa In SA last summer I clearly saw a shark thrashing a hundred metres or so out from the back where loads of birds were diving bombing. Silly but still went out.
Lots of visual activity last summer.
Often see a shark egg when walking the dog along the Middleton stretch.
Cute shark Story: I saw a baby hammerhead a few years back swimming down the face just in front and to the side of me... it really was a lovely sight. I hoped that Mum was not nearby.
Imagine all the sharks that we don’t see. Must be lots. Best not to think about it... or take up tennis.

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simba commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 7:09am

Shark egg?......whites give birth to live young as i think most do except for port jackson which screw an 'egg' into the reef.

simba

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n!ck commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 8:22am

Ah... That’s good then! Feel safer now ;)

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n!ck commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 11:31am

On googling, looks like 40% of sharks lay eggs, 60% give birth to love young.
For egg layers, the “egg case has tendrils that allow it to attach to a substrate such as corals, seaweed, or the ocean bottom.”
Seaweed makes more sense for Middleton to Goolwa as there is often some seaweed washed up too.
Looks like the most dangerous species give birth to live young... they come out swinging from the start ;)

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teanorris commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 7:38am

The population growth in these area over the last thirty year?

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trotty77 commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 8:06am

get a drone,watch your kids watch your mates,take turns, I wonder what it will be like in
10 years time...

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Andrew P commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 8:22am

Canadian researchers have just released a scientific paper describing the rebuild of white sharks on the east coast from New York north. Interesting read. The similarities to the Northern NSW/Southern Qld situation are many. Attached is the abstract from the following paper:

Inconspicuous, recovering, or northward shift: status and management of the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) in Atlantic Canada

G. Bastien, A. Barkley, J. Chappus, V. Heath, S. Popov, R. Smith, T. Tran, S. Currier, D.C. Fernandez, P. Okpara, V. Owen, B. Franks, R. Hueter, D.J. Madigan, C. Fischer, B. McBride, N.E. Hussey

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2020, 77:(10), 1666 - 1677, 10.1139/cjfas-2020-0055

Although white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) have been considered rare in Atlantic Canada waters, recent sighting records indicate a potentially increasing presence. We combine historical to present sighting data with satellite telemetry tracks of large juvenile and adult white sharks tagged in US (n = 9) and Atlantic Canada waters (n = 17) to show seasonal white shark presence and distribution in Atlantic Canada, returns by individuals over multiple years, and high site fidelity to the region. Telemetry data indicate that white sharks are a more common and consistent occurrence in Canadian waters than previously thought, presenting two potential scenarios: (i) tagging technology is revealing white shark presence that was historically cryptic and (or) (ii) a northward range expansion of white sharks in the Northwest Atlantic, potentially due to climate change, population recovery, and (or) increasing pinniped prey. Given combined sighting and telemetry data indicate a current need for proactive management of white sharks in Atlantic Canada waters, we propose the basis for a management action plan, addressing conservation priorities, management goals, and research incentives while considering the potential for human–shark interactions.

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Mango Carafino commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 4:46pm

BTW,

Mick M1's picture
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Mick M1 commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 12:14pm

Would I be wrong in saying that this issue has had the the most amount of feedback/comment of all topics presented?

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Gazbomb commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 12:31pm

Well it's a bit like the argument for capital punishment. The naysayers might say that the death penalty does nothing to lower the crime rate. But the proponents have a handy response. Which is to point out that no one who has received the death penalty has ever committed another crime.

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Shaun Hanson commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 12:40pm

Fuk yeah Mick M1 ...got some attention alright ...not so long ago there was a lot of poeple saying there hasnt been an increase in sharks ...i think we are over that hurdle ......

Pastmypeak

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Mick M1 commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 5:52pm

I've lived on the north coast, nsw for most of my sixty years, the commentary that is taking place is extremely valuable in the solving of this issue. Please contribute as even the smallest details can be a stepping stone in a result beneficial to all concerned.

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Michael Bourne commented Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 11:17pm

Sweet quotes from this dundee dude, blowin/dundee (aka stupes mmmaaayyyteee that stupe' swore ain't no mmmaaayyyteee... and even got infuriated at the mere suggestion... again)

'Tigers aren’t really stealth hunters'

Totally incorrect... no that's completely wrong, not true at all... again...

“Our tagged sharks just continued on their courses without attempting to predate on the alert individual even if they were right in front of them,” said Dr Andrzejaczek, a lead author on a research paper released today.

“We found the sharks were more likely to use stealth to sneak up on their prey.”

https://www.aims.gov.au/docs/media/latest-news/-/asset_publisher/EnA5gMc...

' I don’t think.'

Yes, on the money there... in this case yes, completely correct... again... in a nutshell...

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Andrew P commented Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020 at 12:38pm

Swillnutters Beware! He is re-Bourne!

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glassworks.san-... commented Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020 at 8:06am

take a look at green mount right now''
right there in the close proximity s u p -mals
oblivious on a hazy morning
nah nothing could go wrong?
is it really a shark problem
or a human hubris problem

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miles.doddridge commented Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020 at 9:00pm

A couple of perspectives from a SA surfer.There has been a massive explosion in the number of seals in sa over the last 20 years. Most of the colony's are offshore so the whites can feed without coming in close where the surfers are.
Also at this time of year we used to have a migration of snapper into the gulfs to breed. Overfishing has killed the snapper stock hence a 3 year ban in snapper fishing. The whites used to follow the snapper along the coast & up the gulfs into shallow water.
I think there are plenty around they just aren't coming across us

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bluediamond commented Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020 at 9:05pm

Good observations. Didn't know that about the Snapper. That would explain alot re. the gulfs and relative inactivity. Cheers for sharing.

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velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020 at 9:10pm

Snapper season was shark season in WA too.
And their numbers have been depleted, and their average body size made smaller ("time-dwarfism", ie we overfished them)

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udo commented Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020 at 10:00pm

The 1985 attack on Shirley Durdin at Peake Bay S.A.
Poor woman only out snorkelling in 6ft of water for a feed of Scallops
A Game Fishing tournament was on in the Spencer Gulf at that time and boats had been Burleying the Waters for 2 Days
...Unbeknown to Shirley and Family ..Shirley was diving in tail end of a 2 day strong Burley Trail....From Eric Kotz 'The Jawsome Coast' Book

http://sharkattackfile.net/spreadsheets/pdf_directory/1985.03.03-Durdin.pdf

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Joff commented Friday, 2 Oct 2020 at 10:24am

With the kids waiting on the beach. Man that's heavy.

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tango commented Thursday, 1 Oct 2020 at 1:07pm

Good article, Stu.

The link between whites vacating parts of SA in potential response to Orca presence and increases in whites in other places is a matter worthy of further research, as are the complex interactions between species, predator-prey relationships and responses to changes in environmental forcing/conditions.

The more anecdotal evidence can inform the research, and the more the research can reach the lay-observer, the quicker everyone can start to really understand how it works.

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GreenJam commented Thursday, 1 Oct 2020 at 2:47pm

we can be grateful this beast is no longer hunting
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-71387-y
check out Figure 2 - we humans would have been just a snack

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peabo commented Friday, 2 Oct 2020 at 1:34pm

At that size, they wouldn't have been able to access us at most breaks. Too shallow!

Bring em back. Maybe they'll eat all the whites.

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bluediamond commented Monday, 5 Oct 2020 at 6:01pm

17 footer tagged and released off Canada... "she was full of seals". Crikey!
https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/giant-17ft-great-white-shar...

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Jono commented Monday, 5 Oct 2020 at 8:10pm

Dead whale on the beach at Casuarina 

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mothart commented Monday, 5 Oct 2020 at 8:37pm

A stupid game we use to play & a stupid theory I used to have:

Game: Monkey & I used to rate the evening surf at Blacks, give it a star rating while we were out there, we would then have to stay out till we saw that many stars...
So a one star night was over soon after sunset, but a 5 star night took a bit more nerve, a kind of game of chicken, but I can’t remember either of us going in too early, we loved making each other stay out.

Theory: I was bodysurfing Blacks a fair bit around the same time with a handplane, and had the theory (to get me though), what is a surfboard going to do anyway out there if a shark wants you? It’s just going to be a extra piece of crunch for the shark, but you are still going to be Fucked.

Anyway after Monkey got launched skyward, the game & the theory got ditched pretty bloody quick.

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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 9 Oct 2020 at 4:43pm

Saw that, hope it is not another tragedy at that beach.

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Agitator commented Friday, 9 Oct 2020 at 8:47pm

Hmm...sounds really bad from the report.

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Remigogo commented Friday, 9 Oct 2020 at 10:30pm

It's worse than the days reporting via abc.

Edit: posting without regard for the situation the reporter found herself in. By all reports sounding like a very emotional situation.

My apologies Emma. I hope you are doing OK.

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Remigogo commented Sunday, 11 Oct 2020 at 1:17am

Surely time to at least get the GWS off the endangered species list. Keeping both sides of the fence happy. Isn't that what we are all about? Keeping both sides of the fence happy?

That doesn't mean a wipe out cull. That doesn't mean save the lot. But a balanced as can be reasonably controlled number count of this species of shark.

After all we control somewhat their balance of long distance tucker either releasing off the Tee (bay) , burying in the bunker (beach) dragging out into the rough (sea). Short change snacks on our table (plates).

The government doesn't want to see them from the carparks ( tourism, cafes).

Experience the coast line for what it is. ( long drops, flies and the world's longest golf course if you are crossing the south).

Where else do we suppose a shark is going to look for a gouging. Tuna farms? Cage diver tours? Oil exploring drilling rigs? Fishing trawlers? Bays not teeming with sting rays?

Just prolonging shark suffering i say.

If I were 30 foot long, travelled 2 thousand kays, I'd want to spend a week or 2 doing bugger all else but gouging on humpmaccas and eyeballing dolphins.

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Remigogo commented Sunday, 11 Oct 2020 at 8:54am

I don't have a future writing articles any time soon.

What i am trying to say is let's at least get the GW off the endangered species list.

I am not suggesting culling.

We already interfer with the natural order of one or more of the food sources. One being the whales. It is no secret the GW travel long distances to gouge on dead whales. We save whale pods from mass strandings, bury or drag dead whales. Secondly Sting rays are a by catch which is sad.

Humans disturbed the natural balance ages ago. Mother earth and mechanisms of the universe have the final say. IMHO.

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shoredump commented Sunday, 11 Oct 2020 at 5:44am

If we kill everything, maybe we can live forever?

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.sciencealert.com/what-s-the-deadlies...

If you support a cull of sharks, then you must support a cull of all animals that kill humans. If you don’t, then you’ve got an ego problem, why should only surfers be protected

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Abmay commented Sunday, 11 Oct 2020 at 8:06am

Shoredump I think we are chipping away at killing everything, just not great whites or humans.
I think humans belong in inshore coastal waters as much as we belong in heavily forested areas. We have wiped out plenty of forest for development and to grow food without a thought for other species. I'm not necessarily for culling but I believe in a bit of balance. How about electricity? Is that necessary for human beings? How much destruction has gone on so we can have power? I'd say ocean recreation is more natural to humans than having power.

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shoredump commented Sunday, 11 Oct 2020 at 12:11pm

Balance?
What’s the score, how many sharks have been killed by humans this year, and vice versa.
I don’t really think the destruction of other species gives us a green light for this one either. Quite the opposite.
The sharks aren’t the problem here, it’s the 7 billion humans

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bluediamond commented Sunday, 11 Oct 2020 at 1:45pm

Agreed Shoredump. And if you look at that world population clock it's not going backwards either, but forward at a rate of knots. Terrifying really.

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udo commented Sunday, 11 Oct 2020 at 10:06am
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udo commented Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 12:01pm
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frog commented Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 1:49pm

Mid ocean Jim Shekhdar a British ocean rower and was the first person to complete a solo unassisted non-stop crossing of the Pacific Ocean tells of coming across some very hungry Great Whites in the middle of the ocean. Fish are pretty scarce out in mid ocean. For about an hour they repeatedly swam out and then aimed directly for his boat and rammed it hard trying to tip him out or punch a hole in it. Very unusual behaviour that shows that any generalisations on behaviour go out the window when predators are really hungry.

Fortunately, the local GWs around our coast are reasonably well fed or else we would be in big trouble.

Frogg

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velocityjohnno commented Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 1:57pm

Learned some quite remarkable stuff on the weekend. The world of fish is enveloped in noise! Over 800 species produce noise, from behavioural noise, to swimming. Some of it is quite loud, and can disrupt human activities (as human activities also disrupt the oceans)... Common knowledge is that whales and dolphins use sound, but it seems the fish do as well, to signal for mating, to communicate, etc

http://web.mit.edu/seagrant/digitalocean/listening.pdf

"Fishes produce sounds to communicate with one another while they are mating or being aggressive, and they also make noises associated with feeding and swimming. Over 800 species of fishes from 109 families worldwide are known to be vocal."

Because of this, a specialised field called fish bioacoustics exists, focusing on passive acoustics rather than tagging and 'pinging':

https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.631.9528&rep=r...

A good historiography of the research in that one.

Specialised hydrophones are the instrument of choice.

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/hydrophone.html

I wonder if we can isolate the sound of something as big as a GWS swimming? The ocean is far less silent that I presumed.

And to follow, a quick trip to the Battle of the Atlantic: to defeat the U-boats, ASDIC sonar and a combination of surface vessels and aircraft were used. Loss of life was high, on both sides. But by late WW2, sonar, aircraft like Short Sunderlands or Fairey Swordfish and escort ships prevailed. The Allies realised they needed a better system of detecting submarines, and the SOSUS array was built and deployed in the 1950s onward. It was able to track the noisy Soviet subs. As sound travels a long way, it was possible to locate the sources by triangulating from different points in the array.

A summary:

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/listening-to-the-ocean-the-secretive-en...

Putting these together, I wonder if it would be possible to use existing, or develop extremely sensitive, passive acoustic hydrophones and locate them off surfing areas in an array that can triangulate to locate the position of a swimming shark? Software to identify and pinpoint could be fed to stations on the beach to advise of the presence, and distance, to a shark encounter.

A real time early warning system, if you will.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 2:46pm

Now we're getting somewhere VJ. Great research and credit to you for looking outside the noise of this ceaseless argument. I've always thought, the problem isn't that they're attacking, that's just what they do, they live in the ocean and eat. The problem is we're sitting ducks and unlike all other animals that live in the ocean, we have zero awareness or vision of them when they're nearby. So yeah, you're definitely on the right track i think. I've often thought about this too and i've also wondered if it would be possible, at some point in the future to have a personal device on us, like a watch for example, and then have some kind of sonar built into our legropes or an ankle bracelet so that it pings off in a 50m or more area out from us. Anything larger than maybe 2.5 m can set off an alarm or buzzer on your wristwatch (a terrifying moment) but then at least it gives you that sweet moment to prepare or evade or get the hell out of the water. I've talked to a mate in France who's a radar/computer genius and he dismissed it as being too expensive and the technology just isn't there at the moment. It would be too big and bulky. But that doesn't make it impossible. If we're pouring so much money into everything else including 'research' which really isn't helping anybody in the water, and into shark 'mitigation' strategies, surely, a better way would be to pour all that money straight into something that actually detects a shark in real time while you're in the water. If' we're such a smart species, then this i think is the right and moral way to deal with the problem. It is their ocean. We just have to learn how we can share it, and take notes from nature and the way these other creatures use their senses to be aware of whats around them.
Your post is the first proactive post i've seen in all this years incidents. Good on you VJ. I hope someone reading this is actually connected to the right people and can get the ball rolling in that direction.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 4:52pm

"Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational Swellnet"

Seriously, this has to be the right path. Very interesting on a watch and self-deployed sonar - especially when sitting in the water waiting as there would be less "noise" (though waves will be pretty loud). I guess that would be the equivalent of an escort ship with the ASDIC sonar... I wonder though if it would be 'active' in that it will send out a signal ("Give me a ping, Vasily. One ping only, please")... and also wonder if with our tags and wireless transmitters we are not influencing the ecosystem in our very sampling.

The beauty of the passive acoustic hydrophone is it emits nothing. How it works:

"Most hydrophones are based on a special property of certain ceramics that produces a small electrical current when subjected to changes in underwater pressure. When submerged in the ocean, a ceramic hydrophone produces small-voltage signals over a wide range of frequencies as it is exposed to underwater sounds emanating from any direction.

By amplifying and recording these electrical signals, hydrophones measure ocean sounds with great precision. While a single hydrophone can record sounds from any direction, several hydrophones simultaneously positioned in an array, often thousands of miles apart, result in signals that can be manipulated to “listen” with greater sensitivity than a single device. Omni-directional and hemi-directional hydrophones pick up sound from a particular direction and can be used to track fish movements."

Now how would you hear them? As a few of us know, a fin produces an eddy or spiral of turbulence off it's tip. A shark's tail has a couple of tips, and they will have a disruption to the eddy as the tail goes side to side, maybe even cavitating. The "Red October" sonar operator Jonesy could hear the silent drive... A shark cavitating off it's tail might sound like a heartbeat. Different heartbeats, different species/size...

I was thinking wire up a line of hydrophones (imagine parallel to Kelpies for eg, the line coming out of the water near the beach entrance in the north next to that rounded granite outcrop. Maybe have the array 3 lines deep. Then process the information, locate the sharks. Signals of danger could be shown by a 'traffic light' arrangement on posts in the dunes, green ok, yellow 200m away, red 100m away. Or, we could have the info and exact location broadcast to surfers wearing watches.

As for the guys who could make this happen - we know you read :)

shoredump's picture
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shoredump commented Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 5:11pm

Great ideas fellas

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bluediamond commented Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 5:45pm

Yeah that's awesome VJ. So much to take in, so many possibilities, and so good to at least get the ball rolling in the right direction. Whether or not these are just complete sci fi fantasies or there is actually some possibility these ideas could get off the ground, (which i do believe they could), it's great to start generating some ideas and see what it inspires in other crew, and like you said, if the right crew are reading..and i'm sure they will... maybe they can push forward and run with it.
Love the idea of the row of receivers. Personally, most of the places i surf are isolated and away from crowds so this whole system wouldn't really benefit me, but for the great majority of surfers, especially kids and families, this could be awesome!
It's fascinating and completely new territory to the way we've been thinking of sharks. They have 7 senses, we have 5, but we have a brain big enough to create new ones that can help us. If we have to look like Robocop in the surf then so be it!! haha.

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Dan K commented Tuesday, 13 Oct 2020 at 7:58pm

It's got merit for further investigation for sure. I'm just not convinced on the 'alert' whenever a shark is in the vicinity where you've got to get to the shore asap and all the fear and anxiety that goes with it.
More and more surfers around home say 'I deleted the dorsal app' because of the so frequent sightings or pings that are registered, and I can totally understand. I think we have to remember that these sharks have always been here, maybe not in the numbers we have now but I think co-existing methods are the way to go and if that means throwing bucket loads of money at developing these things then I'm all for it. Our Forster tagging station goes off just about every day more than once a day and everyone still surfs Tuncurry Beach and ocean swimmers almost out to the shark buoy and I just think the constant alarms would more often than not create a mass hysteria. The sonar as a way of deterring however is definitely worth investigating further. I think the sense of smell mentioned before is also worth looking into further. We've been told how amazing their sense of smell is of very minute traces of blood....
What if there was a way to create a drip-line of a substance that was slow release from within the inner tube of a legrope. Much like a drip in hospital as a slow release of fluids but this was a substance that when a shark got whiff of it it created a 'fuck that' response. Every legrope would come with 600ml bottle of "fuckoffshark" juice and you remove a tiny plug, fill the legrope and by the same sort of force as used in hospital scenario the liquid was expelled over the course of your surf. Sounds fucking hair-brain but given the current state of where we're at maybe it isn't? If not a leggy then wetsuit's that have a small rubber ring which can be filled (think of a donut but with liquid inside) and it's actually sewn into the very bottom of a steamer leg. Again, you squeeze in the liquid which is slowly released over the course of a surf. Every wetsuit manufacturer fitted them to the legs of their wetsuits.
What's the magic formula that sharks just can't tolerate??

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gragagan commented Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 5:27pm

This might sound a bit silly, but I wonder if anyone's tested the sharks reaction to insect repellent, like aeroguard or rid. Fish and other animals hate the stuff, and definitely wont eat anything covered in it. A liberal application before paddling out may be enough to keep them from getting too close or having a test bite. They do have a very sensitive sense of smell, I'm thinking they'd clear the area once they get a whiff. And as an extra bonus if it works and enough people do it, the sharks would (maybe) over time learn to associate humans with the smell of the repellent and not be so curious as to what we taste like altogether.
p.s. I dont support a cull, that's just stupid, but apparently whites are nice eating? Makos are, and they're closely related.

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bluediamond commented Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 5:49pm

Definitely not silly Gragagan. I think everything is great to throw in the mix at the moment, considering we're working with a pretty open canvas on what to do. I've actually thought the same on days down here when the flies have been intense (coming into that time of year again dammit). But yeah, when i cover myself in aeroguard, i actually have thought that it would probably put Noahs off. I struggle to breathe myself so i can't imagine it would be great to a shark. I know it's not the most environmentally friendly of things i guess, but, for the moment, i honestly don't think it can hurt. Even just for a little peace of mind. And no flies!!

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goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 13 Oct 2020 at 8:16pm

That was a great article udo, thanks for sharing

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udo commented Tuesday, 13 Oct 2020 at 8:43pm

Notice the Electrical field Sharkshield worked only once and then the shark was not fazed by it.

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goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 13 Oct 2020 at 8:56pm

Yeah just completely ignored it.

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frog commented Tuesday, 13 Oct 2020 at 10:20pm

Yes, that is worth noting:

"The shark hit the electrical field and freaked out. I said, “This is going to work.” [But] as the shark came back it encountered the electrical field again, and swam right through it. It didn’t give a damn.

Chisholm: After it showed an initial reaction and then just never showed a reaction after that, we started thinking this must not be working. [And someone] reached down into the water to grab it and he got shocked. So we knew they were working, It just didn’t faze the shark at all."

Frogg

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frog commented Wednesday, 14 Oct 2020 at 6:53am

Dug out the book I've referred to from my library as it is worth getting a first hand account of unusual Great White behaviour from Jim Shekhdar' in his book "Bold man of the sea" out in the middle of the Pacific solo in a row boat as he rowed across the Pacific.

"Ooooouufff! The entire boat shuddered with the force of the white pointer battering for the first time against the hull. He had wheeled around behind me, gathering speed on the approach, crashing against the side, and now he was wheeling again. Another glancing blow rocked the boat...........
After 20 minutes or so repeating this ..... he disappeared into the depths....
This incident marked the start of intermittent but regular attacks over a six week period when a tribe of white pointers, numbering maybe five or six or more, declared open season on the sides of my boat. Day after day, they would arrive in the vicinity and launch their incessant pummeling routine."

Over the weeks he hit them, jabbed them with his harpoon, tried to stab them leaving wounds but they kept at him thumping their heads hard into the boat ignoring the pain of his jabs and the boat impact until they eventually gave up.

Is this the usual scientific excuse that attacks are:
- Mistaken identity
- Exploratory bites
where the shark soon realises it was mistaken and moves on?

Or is the reality that very hungry sharks behave like very hungry sharks and become aggressive to the point that talk of exploratory bites or mistakes are not an accurate or useful description of what is going on.

The fullness of their belly is a random element in the risk equation as they check us out. Swimming with, and even kissing sharks, is possible..... if they have a full belly.

Frogg

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Ray Shirlaw commented Tuesday, 13 Oct 2020 at 7:20pm

Oceanic White Tip?? Big,inquisitive and aggressive... Once the "most numerous large predator on Earth....now not just Decimated....pretty much Annihilated

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frog commented Tuesday, 13 Oct 2020 at 9:19pm

He said white pointer and had weeks to observe them.

Back in the 60s the Jacque Cousteau expedition noted the oceanic white tip to be big trouble if they were out diving. Inquisitive and immediately, persistently aggressive. They were the ones who took out a lot of seamen in the WWII shipwrecks.

The South Pacific islanders feared the blue shark outside the lagoons which would attack their canoes. They thought tiger sharks were slow and stupid

So many different behaviours berween sharks and even locations you can't generalise too much.

Frogg

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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 6:40pm

Here's a tragicomic story of humans picking winners

http://theveterinarian.com.au/?p=2371

combined with a shift in ecosystems far away

https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/birds-water-vanish-macquarie-marshes-w...

and then the apocalyptic shift in the hunting grounds that ensues:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4dYWhkSbTU

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Agitator commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:42pm

So what will it take to put that barrier around at least 3/4 of Australia...easy, I know...wait!...I just saw a flying pig, a pink elephant and my hens are switching to colgate as it's better for their teeth....fark me, I just check mated myself.

Did I mention Mars attacks tomorrow...well, yeah. Sharks got a message out to them, want them to come down and zap all the wiz bang vapor ware shark barriers with their lazer guns...poooof, and they were gone. That's that! Open season on humans continues unabated.

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udo commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 12:24pm
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bluediamond commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 1:11pm

jeez...heavy heavy reading Udo.

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The Fire commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 8:59pm

Anyone who surfs, has surfed or intends to surf the westcoast of sa should read that article.

Thank you for posting that Udo.

Peace

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velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 6:01pm

Whoa, what an article.

"By the mid-1980s, the theme of that horror story had been all but reversed by the green lobby. Men like Hislop were the new "mindless predators", while great whites became "magnificent survivors" which attacked humans only through mistaking them for seals, or because they were "curious" or "playful".

This clashed with reality, but it suited the cage-diving industry, which at its peak had seven companies competing for international eco-tourists in South Australian waters.

But the continued success of the industry was linked to the area's reputation for unfailingly producing lots of large, impressive white pointers. And by the mid-1980s, according to Fox and the Taylors, the larger sharks had stopped showing up. There could have been many reasons for this: whites are migratory, following whales in their annual trek up and down the Australian coastline, and researchers say environmental changes affect their movements in ways that are yet to be understood.

Fox called in acquaintances at the Cousteau Society, and after a couple of expeditions with Fox and the Taylors off Port Lincoln, the researchers aboard Alcyone declared that white pointers were close to extinction in South Australian waters - "with just 45 to 50 left here..." How they established this knowledge of a transient creature in the vastness of the Southern Ocean wasn't revealed, but the figures were often quoted in the campaign to have whites protected. (Over the same period, 200 white pointers were tagged in a small area off Port Lincoln in an ongoing project to learn more about their movements. Fox says now that the decision to protect whites was based mainly on reduced numbers caught in beach protection nets along Australia's east coast.)"

So that's how they got protected.

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bluediamond commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 6:07pm

Yeah that bit got me too VJ. They were protected to create income for the cage diving industry? The plot thickens huh.

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velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 6:31pm

There's a lot in that article that hits pretty hard. Being 1980s kids, we'd see Ron & Valerie on the TV docos and they were heroes, went from killing sharks to saving them.

""A dead white pointer is a useless piece of meat; a live one is a valuable asset which brings tourists, film-makers and researchers to the area," wrote Taylor in 1988."

Edit: notice that nearly 20 years after that piece was written, the debate hasn't changed either. "Don't touch that magnificent creature" vs "I'm going to take it out".

The other bit that got me was that the Taylors reckoned the really big ones stopped coming by the mid 1980s. Maybe they were smart enough not to fall for the 30km burley trail, smart enough to work out it didn't lead to a big feed.

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Blowin commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 7:16pm

Take ways from the excellent article:

1/ You’d never see reporting that honest , accurate and balanced in the SMH these days.

2/ Even a mere 20 years ago Australians were much more open and acquainted with mortality than they are now.

3/ 20 years .

20 years since anyone was killed on the West coast of SA and crew are still acting like they’re liable to be picked off every time they enter the water ....WTF ? There’s been ONE death at Elliston in recorded modern history yet it’s believed to be a hotspot of death ....why ? You are far more likely to be killed by a shark at Nth wall Ballina.

4/ The fisherman themselves , who stated that pointers were thick in the early days , acknowledged that shark numbers did not equate to human deaths.

5/ The “intermediate expert “ opinions of those who have a dick relative in the tuna farming industry and who couldn’t suck off Rodney Fox hard enough recently are shown to be the clueless spivs they always were. Fox was the ultimate proponent of the “ endangered unicorn “ myth due to money in his pocket. This was obvious to anyone who’s ever seen five minutes of Shark Week.

6/ The article does no favours for the current round of shrill voices - including a bloke who’s opinion traditionally I enjoy and respect, Freeride - with its broader scope of the effect of sharks on the Australian lifestyle. The author reveals that only 9 official deaths from shark in SA over 50 years whilst casually noting that a couple related to a single shark victim drowned whilst fishing ....an equal blow to the lives of the victims without the hyperbole of falling victim to shark predation. Point being that people die everyday . No one will stare in fear where the couple drowned but the sight of the shark attack will eternally be held in awe.....why ? Death is death .

People die . It’s sad . It’s unfortunate. It’s an unavoidable consequence of being alive.

The East coast hosts MILLIONS of man hours in the water for every death. Several deaths this year does not mean there will be a corresponding amount of deaths next year. Shark numbers are growing yet deaths in SA are currently very , very low ( non existent ? [ touch wood ] ) where they were previously very threatening.

There may be larger cycles in play which we may not comprehend. Attacks may not correlate with shark numbers.

I’m not sure , I’m as vulnerable as yourself and probably more frightened but I don’t think that indiscriminate killing is the answer.

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velocityjohnno commented Monday, 19 Oct 2020 at 9:38pm

On 1/

Jeez it was a well written and conducted piece. The journo must have been very empathetic for he'd chat with people who were probably still grieving, but have a beer with them at a table to do so. Or know from talking at the pub that you walk in to see the fisherman, more than a knock. That's a level of immersion. To see that today? Nah.

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freeride76 commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 8:06pm

Not sure how I manage to fit the category of shrill voices Blowin, without getting into a barney you seem pretty down the road of intense feels yourself on that.
And I respect your opinion. but some of your language is definitely not moderate. Thats your business, just seems a bit rich to call others shrill.

I have a different perspective based on what has happened around me and to people I know in the last 5 years.

But for the record, I've maintained that Smart Drum lines are the best compromise we have right now for co-existing with what is clearly an increasing biomass of white sharks on the east coast, particularly sub-tropical NSW.

That doesn't sound very shrill to me.

It is non-lethal and gives us mountains of valuable real-time data.

As far as effects go, I ran into my mate at the top of the Point the other day.

He was in the water with Mani when he was fatally attacked in July about a hundred miles south of here.

Just outside Mani with his other mate. Their kids surfing. About a dozen out surfing crystal clear water head high lefts.

pack of dolphins went through.

Mani was sitting with two other people, in the middle, when he was first hit.

my mate said the savagery was intense, as we saw from the footage of the Greenmount attack.

that got one leg.

the shark came back and hit his other leg. Wouldn't let go.

One brave soul had to literally fight the shark off him.

this was no cautious, bite and spit.

He was basically bled out by the time they got him in. Frantically trying legropes to tourniquet the massive wounds. Kids screaming, full horror.

Chopper had to come from Tamworth, paramedics from Grafton. They got bogged on the beach trying to get to him.

It was more than an hour before medical help got to him.

My mate said they kept working away on him but his eyes. His eyes looked like the eyes of a fish who had been in the icebox.

Everyone on the beach, traumatised. Totally.
Small community traumatised.

Is that shrill?

It's just what happened.

I guess my point is, we're being sold a pup about these animals and the recovery plan takes no ethical responsibility for a policy of increasing populations of predators into coastal regions.

History will be the judge, but how many bleed-outs do we accept with grace?

It might back off, the whites might learn to stop attacking as they get bigger, or they might not.

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frog commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 9:10pm

Some of the frustration in the debate is that the go to experts roll out the same series of messages:
- mistaken identity
- exploratory bite
- numbers are not increasing
- risks are very low and not increasing
Messages that seems very likely to be incorrect.
At least in Cape Cod they are openly saying that with more seals in close and sharks, risks are much higher than in the past. They are closing beaches over and over again. The conversation is much more honest which reduces risks.

Whether any balanced and effective solutions exist to the problem is what remains uncertain.

Frogg

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Blowin commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 9:16pm

Yeah , it seems a bit shrill.

A person died . That’s fucked up but it’s not extraordinary. It happens every single day on our roads. I don’t hear anyone going into detail about a tragically routine head on somewhere on our nation’s roads like you just delved into when discussing the statistically unlikely story of an unfortunate death by animal attack.

I’ve lost a couple of mates before their time - heart failure probably attributable to lifestyle ( cocaine use ) - and when they were fished lifeless from the water it didn’t make headlines. No one was remarking on the state of their eyes on a website months later. In fact I’ve lost quite a few people of a young age and no one is recounting the horrific circumstance beyond noting the loss.

It’s death . It’s shit . It’s traumatic and unfortunate and inevitable and sometimes untimely but it’s no different in the end.

Not that many people die from shark attack. It’s been literally years since the last death at Ballina. Should we still act as if it happened yesterday ?

Should I feel safer because no one has died here even though I could die tomorrow ?

It’s nature , it’s life .....it’s normal.

I’m not going to waste your time equating shark deaths with bee stings or vending machine deaths but i will say this : Do you think that a few deaths per year amongst the entire global surfing population is too many considering we thrive on being at the cutting edge of nature ?

Caveat.....I reckon any shark which has proven itself to be involved in an attack on humans should be dispatched immediately. Other than that I fully support non- lethal programs such as drum lines. I’m sure a solution will be found in the future will will render us almost shark proof. Till then....you want to dance , you’ve got to pay the band.

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Blowin commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 9:09pm

Frog....I think we’ve moved beyond those furphies.

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frog commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 9:12pm

I think we have but not so sure about many of the "experts".

Frogg