Just be really, really careful while driving to the beach—and beware of hitting a deer. Drum lines were permanently moored off popular beaches in an attempt to "thin" the numbers of marine predators. So why do sharks attack? You just need to adjust your behavior to a place, not the other way around.”. Jacob: Because it feeds into the information we have. "It's reasonable to assume it could have been the same shark but we couldn't be entirely certain," Fisheries regional manager Tony Cappelluti told reporters. The attack on Doreen Collyer was WA's second in just seven days - after the first attack, a shark was caught on the Fisheries' drum lines. Certainly, the rapid-fire recurrence of shark attacks in the past year in Western Australia has been alarming, horrifying and sad, and Fisheries Minister Moore believes a heavy hand must be delivered to protect his state’s precious tourism industry. Other times, humans kill sharks for fishing to use their meat as food and to use their fins for medicinal purposes. The Western Australian Government consistently denies its policy allowing for individual sharks, including endangered species, to be killed if they match the description of a shark posing an "imminent threat" to the public is based on rogue shark theory. The movie was based on an 1974 novel of the same name. some Facts and Statistics about sharks attack There are statistics on shark bites, like the “international shark attack files” by the Florida Museum of Natural History , and we have a pretty good idea of how many people actually get bitten by sharks each year. The database file adds that shark attacks have grown increasingly common since 1900—a trend that most likely reflects the increasing popularity of surfing, diving, bodyboarding and other water sports. The triggering event was the death of Ken Crew, who was attacked at a Perth beach in November 2000. And in the past several years, laws forbidding white shark fishing have been waived for documentary television crews. The reason for this is that sharks simply do not naturally attack human beings and most shark attacks are simply cases of mistaken identity. The shows Expedition Great White, Shark Men and Shark Wranglers have each portrayed teams of scientists hooking and landing adult great whites, hauling them aboard their vessels and spending 20 minutes or more prodding the animals and fitting them with SPOT, or Smart Position and Temperature, tags. Orcas will even attack and kill great white sharks just to eat They’re not called killer whales for nothing. Sharks do not get a taste for human flesh.". The International Shark Attack File reports that sharks of all species made unprovoked attacks on 75 people in 2011. And in America, 150 vehicle occupants are killed every year when their cars hit deer in the road. “It won’t be helping our tourism industry, and those people who want to come here to enjoy an ocean experience will be turned away because of this situation.”He also said recently, “Further action is necessary to deal with it.”. Sharks have been known to attack humans when they are confused or curious. "The shark was swimming around the area and then went off and they weren't able to catch it. Don’t wear shiny jewelry: Sharks can confuse shiny jewelry for fish scales. ", the animal responsible for killing Doreen Collyer. "They're just animals living in … According to Fisheries regional manager Tony Cappelluti, in the history of the imminent threat policy, drum lines have only been deployed before an attack once. Jaws, which first screened in 1975, told the story of a man-eating great white shark attacking beachgoers at a fictional US summer resort town. Once the popular target of trophy fishermen, who used rods and reels like cranes to haul in sharks as large as two tons, the great white received protection in Western Australia following the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s labeling of the species as “vulnerable.”. Sharks have no particular liking for human flesh as it contains a lower level of fat than they need. Terms of Use “If we remove the protected status of every species that runs afoul of humans, we’ll run out of bears, lions and tigers really soon,” he said. Incursions Despite rhetoric about proactively removing a threat, the response is almost always reactive - the shark is killed after an attack, not before. And although attacks can have tragic outcomes, demonizing sharks and hunting them down after an attack is not the answer, he said. On October 10, 2011, Bryn Martin went missing while taking a swim at Cottesloe Beach in Perth. Following recent attacks, is it time that laws protecting great white sharks be changed? "No response, no reaction from Government could have prevented what happened.". Also like in the incidents we've seen in the past week we've deployed drum lines in the immediate vicinity of an attack, because often sharks hang around those areas and we do try and get the individual shark.". These sharks are like dogs, in their gestures and in their behaviour. Even if a victim or witness is able to accurately identify the shark species during the terror and panic of an attack, and then tell authorities, there's also doubt a shark caught in the area would be necessarily the right shark, and doubt there's any point catching the shark at all. Linden’s death was preceded by several other similar events. Based on analysis of hundreds of shark attacks, it found 96 per cent of attacks victims were struck only once - bumped with the snout or slashed with the upper jaw teeth, with little attempt by the shark to bite or remove flesh. Drum lines were first deployed to protect users of the marine environment from sharks in Queensland , Australia in 1962. Photo courtesy of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation. Like the scars on her leg, it is a reminder of what can happen on the rare occasions that sharks do choose to attack the humans who stray into their domain. The imminent threat policy, however, was created when government was under pressure to do something about "rogue sharks". Tom: Sure there's lots of problems with that policy, but I'm asking if there's any evidence or research that shows yours is working. A pair of orcas were filmed apparently hunting a great white shark off the coast of South Africa. Shark cage diving, though a micro-tourism industry of its own, will probably be banned in Western Australia. Sharks do circle when they spy something in the water, but it's not necessarily because they're hungry. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Scubaben. They assume that we're something that we are not.- Gary Adkison, diver ("Sharkbite! 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. In a few places, anglers may still fish for great whites. Lethal drumlines should be deployed to stop sharks immediately after an attack, a WA ocean safety group says, but the state government refuses. Jacob: In a proactive sense it can but obviously catching the shark after the incident doesn't. Tom: This killing measure - imminent threat killing - how do you know it does anything? Shark finning is the act of removing fins from sharks and discarding the rest of the shark back into the ocean. Two year's ago WA's trial of shark culling attracted national controversy. Angie Raphael NCA NewsWire October 12, … Should We Kill Animals Who Presumably Attack Humans? Tom: What does that mean exactly? Apart from catching lots of tiger sharks, but few great whites (which are considered more likely to attack humans), the drum lines also had a political cost. Canine expert's warning to ALL owners after woman killed and eaten by pit bulls Ron Berman said the death of Bethany Lynn Stephens is a … If a shark sees a human splashing in the water, it may try to investigate, leading to an accidental attack. Then, an American tourist, 32-year-old George Wainwright, was killed October 22, 2011, while diving at Rottnest Island, near Perth. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. The fifth fatal shark attack in less than a year in the coastal waters of Western Australia has put local swimmers, divers and surfers on edge. Though they do not necessarily have territories in the sense that terrestrial predators do, there is a discernible dominance hierarchy among sharks. They are typically deployed near popular swimming beaches with the intention of reducing the number of sharks in the vicinity and therefore the probability of shark attack. shark culling (including through the use of nets, something NSW has been doing for 60 years), reduces shark attacks. The odds of finding it had always been low - a Great White can travel up to 120km in a day. Now, these do not attack for fun or because humans are very appetizing. In the decades since then, the rogue shark theory has been further and convincingly discredited - to the extent governments now want to avoid association. “We do know that sharks don’t like to eat people,” he said. Which As a Western Australian I find it very interesting - the policy in New South Wales and Queensland is nets which kill indiscriminately. Some officials are already suggesting that lawmakers take a 180-degree turn in shark conservation practices, lift protections from great white sharks and allow people to fish for and kill the animals again after a 14-year moratorium. They’ve proven that they can easily disarm a great white in an attack. WA has about 20,000 km of coastline; way too much to net. It sounds like jargon. The fact that one shark attacked out of curiosity and not aggression is something that instills fear into people. Most sharks do not like the way people taste. But the question remains: why do orcas bother hunting these sharks at all? All of a sudden, she’s spun around. In many locations in the world, boat captains attract sharks toward their vessels as paying clients in underwater cages watch. They hunch up their backs when they are annoyed, and she was annoyed. He suggests that it could be more likely that the sharks do not like to fight. Environment Minister Albert Jacob: The imminent threat policy is only one small part of what we're doing as a Government - we've got more than $30 million in our response which includes funding research programs like spotter patrols. At the time, there was no imminent threat policy, and this meant Fisheries was not authorised to kill the shark that swam in full view of television news choppers. The attack was different to others - instead of happening at a remote beach, it took place in front of early morning joggers and cafe diners, in waist-deep water. Already, action has been taken. The apparent indecision over deploying drum lines, even directly after an attack, may betray some of the doubts about the purpose of WA's "imminent threat" policy, which allows Fisheries to kill a large shark swimming close to popular beaches, or to kill a shark suspected of attacking a human. So, perhaps the bottom line to this story should be that although shark attacks are frightening and tragic for those involved, they are not a relatively significant per-capita danger. Advertising Notice This site is protected by CopyScape Please, do not copy It also marks the change in the Barnett Government's hardline attitude to killing sharks. The most recent attack took the life of 24-year-old Ben Linden, who was paddling on a surfboard on July 14 when a large great white bit the young man in half. With jaws made to kill, do great white sharks still deserve protected status in Western Australia, where they have killed five people in less than a year? Now, after the Linden attack, people are rethinking how dangerous sharks are, how safe the water is and whether animals that kill people should be allowed to live. Premier Barnett yesterday categorically ruled out permanent drum lines. There are a couple of reasons why swimming with sharks is safer. Give a Gift. The popularity of sharks in mainstream culture seems to have increased with more and more televised presentations of sharks in their natural habitats, and the men and women who study them—but concern for sharks’ protection has not necessarily grown, Van Sommeran believes. They have their … California Do Not Sell My Info "The rogue shark story doesn't get changed because it gives meaning to events in a way that makes them governable for government. So, while sharks can’t smell blood from extremely far away, they are very good at finding the source of the blood after coming in contact with the scent. By 1994, the species was fully protected in California waters, and by 1997 white sharks were illegal to take in all United States federal waters. W orldwide there are probably 70-100 shark attacks annually resulting in about 5 deaths. "Just before the terrible incident there had also been two fatalities in South Australia, and so there was some belief this rogue shark had been going up the coastline.". For now, lifting protections on great white sharks remains just an idea, and if the suggestion advances toward the desks of Australian lawmakers (who likely drove their cars to work), we will surely hear firm opposition from conservationists and others. The Government now admits this didn't work, and it has also struggled to justify even the temporary use of drum lines to kill an individual shark after an attack. “By 2001, the laws were being undermined by aquariums and scientific collection projects,” he said. "The really big sharks are not the ones that bight people, ironically. The thing is, sharks aren’t very dangerous. 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In Santa Cruz, California, independent white shark researcher Sean Van Sommeran hopes that people will simply accept that sharks are a part of the environment in Australian waters, rather than back-stepping and rescinding protective regulations on the species. It's not clear how they reduce risk of an attack. Still, sharks have more to fear from humans We say “probably” because not all shark attacks are reported; our information from Third World countries is especially poor, and in other areas efforts are sometimes made to keep attack … Later, only his Speedos were recovered. Heart attacks occur when … Given permanent ones didn't work, temporary "imminent threat" ones may be a kind of political compromise. Therefore, they are not man-eaters by nature.Most of the attacks do not show unnatural aggression. On September 4, 2011, bodyboarder Kyle James Burden was killed at Bunker Bay, about 190 miles south of Perth. That same year a second book was published by a US naval officer, David Baldridge. Now, after the Linden attack, people are rethinking how dangerous sharks are, how safe the water is and whether animals that kill people should be allowed to live. "The first alert that I was aware of this particular shark was only 20 minutes before the incident itself," Minister Jacob said yesterday about the attack on Doreen Collyer. Tom: You didn't answer my question. Van Sommeran was among those who first campaigned for the protection of great white sharks in the early 1990s. Sharks pose less of a threat to larger members of the dolphin family. An attack can occur whe… It sounds terrifying. Tiger sharks are considered the world's most dangerous shark after the great white and second only in recorded fatal attacks on humans. or lobbying to legalize sport and commercial fishing, offered payment to commercial fishermen who accidentally catch, Isaac Newton Thought the Great Pyramid Held the Key to the Apocalypse, Who Were America's Enslaved? They dropped large stainless steel hooks attached to surface buoys - if they caught a Great White about five metres long, or maybe longer, they would probably have judged they had caught the animal responsible for killing Doreen Collyer, a 60-year-old nursing lecturer and keen diver. It causes them to act irrationally and they tend to go after all sharks instead of just a particular one. Answer: Sometimes people kill sharks for sport while fishing. A few interesting facts on why … According to Dr Christopher Neff, a lecturer at the University of Sydney who for the last 10 years has been looking at how governments respond to shark attacks, the "rogue shark" theory has been discredited for decades, but still informs public policy. This act is prohibited in many countries. Authorities have tried to catch and kill the individual before it attacks again—but their efforts may not stop there. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, for example, has offered payment to commercial fishermen who accidentally catch and then turn over juvenile great white sharks, with fees varying depending on the condition of the animal—and top dollar going for live juvenile sharks, which have periodically become popular tourist draws at the aquarium. Privacy Statement The shark responsible for the attack, wherever it was, had gotten away. But Western Australia Fisheries Minister Norman Moore says he will now be lobbying to legalize sport and commercial fishing for great white sharks in the waters under his jurisdiction. "After that incident the WA Government had tried to kill the shark and couldn't get the right authorisation," Dr Neff said. Do sharks eat dolphins? At least, they’re a lot less dangerous than cars, which we cherish and wash on Sunday afternoons and use for driving our kids to church, and for whose deadly wheels most societies all but lay out red carpets. Tell us what you think in the comment box below. The great white shark is a protected species in much of the world and considered vulnerable and threatened in places. “Sharks generate a strange kind of enthusiasm that isn’t at all confined to conservation,” he said. Shark attacks are almost impossible to predict or guard against - according to the CSIRO, the only guaranteed protection is full beach enclosures. Indeed, orcas are the top predator in the ocean and small sharks are a target for some populations. This suggested feeding was not the motivation for most shark attacks. Though many supported them, many others were absolutely opposed. Finally, on March 31, 2012, another diver, 33-year-old Peter Kurmann, was attacked and killed near Busselton. Sharks have less than stellar eyesight -- they often rely on their ability to detect the electric fields of hidden prey -- and are forced to take extra time to fully comprehend what they are seeing. If we have a large shark hanging around, and the shark is causing a threat - we try and catch and destroy that shark. There's also no evidence pre-emptively killing sharks, i.e. The overwhelming consensus among marine biologists at the moment is there's no such thing as "rogue sharks" that develop a taste for human flesh and turn "man-eaters". You’ll find the answers to that question below. They are found in all the oceans around the world. At the same press conference, Environment Minister Albert Jacob said killing the shark was justified because it was "posing a threat" - implying killing the marine predator made people safer - and also for what marine scientists can learn from the dead animal. Smaller sharks and other fish as well as marine mammals joined great white sharks on their journey through time and as these evolved in the water beside them they became their natural prey. Alternatively after the fact we also try and get the shark. Can dolphins kill sharks? And because of this, surfing and spear-fishing are actually safer than playing golf, where more golfers die each year from lightning strikes than surfers die from shark attacks. Is there any evidence killing those individual sharks makes anyone safer? Speculation reached such a pitch the American author of the Jaws book, Peter Benchley, wrote a letter-to-the-editor saying rogue sharks don't exist. Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. Alastair Bland is a journalist based in San Francisco who writes about the environment, agriculture, science and food. So, if tourists are afraid of going into the ocean, they should be petrified at the thought of traveling on a paved highway to get there. Many of the attacks occur in areas near the coasts, between sandbanks and in places of steep seabed because the sharks congregate there. Using hunks of tuna and mammal flesh to lure sharks toward tourists in cages (this shot was taken in Mexican waters) is a popular activity worldwide, but in Western Australia people have charged that chumming for great whites could be endangering swimmers at nearby beaches. “There are streams with crocodiles and forests with poisonous snakes, and there are sharks in the water. But Van Sommeran notes that these laws have been repeatedly bent to allow for white shark capture in the name of science. They hauled up the drum lines before dusk and, after announcing they would be back in the morning, the next day the hooks stayed on shore. Vote Now! Killer whales are marine creatures primarily known for their hunting skills. Van Sommeran warns that any steps backward in protecting great white sharks could set a precedent for changing laws that protect other large predators. Sharks killed only 12 people in 2011—worldwide—according to the International Shark Attack File. Part of the problem of the proactive policy is actually seeing the shark before it attacks. "They're natural disasters. A number of shark species are "apex predators," which means they're at the top of the food chain and have no "Shark bites are not governable," Dr Neff said. “Studies show they respond strongly to the smell of seals and fish, but not humans. On Monday, the day after a woman had been killed by a shark, Western Australian Fisheries motored to the spot in the ocean where she had been attacked, one kilometre off Perth's northern suburbs. The old adage that sharks don’t like the taste of humans could be due to the fact that they when they do bite a human, it’s normally a hit and run. A jet skier who came to assist said the shark circled around the victim’s remains before nudging the jet ski, then seizing Linden’s torso in its mouth and disappearing. There's very little government can do about it, aside from put in beach enclosures that are completely safe. Why Sharks Attack Ninety percent or more of shark incidents are mistakes. Many critics of the activity have warned that SPOT tagging procedures are potentially harmful to larger sharks. Dr Neff is careful to acknowledge the trauma of those who have lost a loved one to a shark, and the potential wish for retribution, but he says killing a shark won't make anyone safer. 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