Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 728x90

Not shark 'attack', it's an 'accident' + Video

by Media Services on 21 Jan 2012
If you’re bitten, it’s a case of mistaken identity. James Cook University http://cms.jcu.edu.au/
The concept of the 'rogue' shark, seeking revenge on its human nemesis is nothing more than Hollywood fodder, say experts, including Christopher Neff, a researcher at the University of Sydney carrying out the world's first PhD on the politics of 'shark bite incidents'.

He says we should drop the term 'attack' and all the other emotive language as sensationalist and misleading.

'Swimmers are in the way, not on the menu,' he says. 'There is no evidence any shark species develops a taste for human flesh.'

Neff does not want to downplay the tragedy of serious or fatal encounters with these apex predators of the sea, particularly during this summer of heavy rain, when swimmers will are warned to avoid bathing at dawn, dusk or in cloudy conditions.

'Shark bites are scary,'continues Neff, but persistent myths and sensationalism can lead to ineffective, political solutions, such as the recent authorisation of a shark hunt in Western Australia after three deaths, which would have made no swimmer safer if it had gone ahead.

What is needed from scientists and authorities is straight talking and good information, such as the facts that shark numbers increase in summer in Parramatta River and Sydney Harbour, and people shouldn't swim there for three days after heavy rain because sewage attracts sharks.

Neff, an American, said it was wrong for incidents always to be described as attacks, when bites are often defensive or done out of curiosity.



About 13 per cent of so-called shark attacks in NSW, on Australia's east coast are by wobbegongs, for example.(a carpet shark species that does not attack unless prevoked) 'That means someone was stepping on it or pestering it,' says Neff, adding that before the 'rogue shark' concept, shark attacks were often referred to as 'shark accidents'.

And after some fatalities in the 1920s, a NSW government committee nevertheless concluded 'sharks do not patrol the beaches on the off-chance of occasionally devouring human prey'.

But the notion of rogue sharks, made internationally famous by the movie Jaws, has persisted. 'And now we see it in a policy response in 2011 [with the proposed hunt].'

Humans are of little interest, according to Nuff, since they provide low nutrition. If sharks wanted to attack people, there would be many more bites, given the increasing numbers of swimmers.

Amy Smoothey, a shark researcher with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, said that on Australia Day last year there were seven tagged mature bull sharks in Sydney Harbour, sharing the waters with thousands of people, including those in a harbour swim event. Yet there were no incidents or reported sightings.

Her tagging research is aimed at providing the public with more information about where the bull sharks are most likely to be.

That sharks visit the harbour indicates it is a healthy waterway. 'We should be grateful for their presence,' she says.

Sharks have killed one person a year in Australia, on average, for the past 50 years.

Worldwide, there is increased interest in shark 'incidents', with five encounters in the past week, all in places where the predators are unusual.

Marine scientists said the incidents in the Seychelles and four others in Russia and Puerto Rico - all areas not usually known to attract aggressive sharks - could be a result of warmer waters caused by climate change.

But they all agree science does not yet fully understand the behaviour and movement of sharks.
Barz Optics - FloatersWildwind 2016 660x82Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82

Related Articles

PredictWind - One stop shop
PredictWind have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software PredictWind the world leader in forecasting believe that more is better, and have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software.
Posted on 15 Aug
Marine Resources job updates
Marine Resources specialises in providing expert recruitment services to the leisure marine industry worldwide. Marine Resources specialises in providing expert recruitment services to the leisure marine industry worldwide. Jobseekers register your CV now to receive the latest vacancies and be matched to your ideal job. Employers choose from a variety of recruitment options which include a full consultancy service as well as a unique job advertising package.
Posted on 11 Aug
Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Rio official murdered ten months before the Olympics
Rio de Janeiro is a troubled city and a reeling Olympic host, but it will always have beautiful Guanabara Bay. Does an unsolved murder of an official in Rio in charge of cleaning up Guanabara Bay say a lot about the state of platy in the magical city? Priscilla Pereira was murdered 10 months ago and the thinking is that she was murdered in relation to her work
Posted on 31 Jul
America's Cup - Southern Spars to build AC50 for Emirates Team NZ
Southern Spars has been appointed to build Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC50 wingsailed foiling catamaran One of the world's leading composite engineering companies, Southern Spars has been appointed to build Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC50 wingsailed foiling catamaran for the 35th America’s Cup campaign. The move marks a shift away from Cookson Boats who have been Team New Zealand's boatbuilder since 2000. No reasons have been given for the decision to change the builder.
Posted on 24 Jul
Upffront.com - Tuff Luff and Harken Headfoils
Upffront.com is a comprehensive online purchasing platform for performance sailing hardware and rigging systems Upffront.com is a comprehensive online purchasing platform for performance sailing hardware and rigging systems; orders are processed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and we deliver to customers located anywhere in the world.
Posted on 8 Jul
Barz floating sunglasses - Ideal for sailing in rough conditions
Our SAN JUAN floating model fitted with 1.1mm Acetate Lenses have a density of 0.95 GM/ML Barz floating sunglasses float in rough conditions. Most sunglasses that say they float, only float in the bathtub as once they break surface tension (or if there is any movement on top of the water)... down they go...
Posted on 7 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun
11th Hour Racing to present at annual Green Sports Alliance Summit
11th Hour Racing is headed to Houston, Texas, to present at the annual Green Sports Alliance Summit 11th Hour Racing is headed to Houston, Texas, to present at the annual Green Sports Alliance Summit, June 28-30, the world’s largest gathering for the sports community around sustainability, including both professional and collegiate sports teams, leagues and venues.
Posted on 25 Jun
PredictWind - Stunning new forecast maps
When developing the Offshore App, we had to rethink maps for offshore sailors. When developing the Offshore App, we had to rethink maps for offshore sailors. The mapping technology was rebuilt to be faster, have smaller downloads and be able to smoothly animate PredictWind’s advanced forecasts. Following the success of the Offshore App, we’re releasing this unique display technology across all other platforms, including the forecast website, Android and iOS Apps
Posted on 24 Jun