News

Time to be honest about the reality of shark attacks

WITH the tragic death of Chris Boyd in Western Australia this week, once again the media is abuzz with the politics of shark attacks.

I use the word politics deliberately as when these tragic events happen, it naturally triggers a highly charged and emotional response.

Then the politicking starts. Should we cull or protect? Of course, then the other arguments come in: Are sharks harmful or harmless? Do they hunt humans as prey or not?

Well, I'm not going there. Instead I would like to draw your attention to Christopher Neff. He's doing his PhD on the politics of shark attacks.

In my humble opinion this man has one of the clearest and most grounded messages available in relation to shark bites. Note he uses the words "shark bite" rather than "shark attack".

In an interview on Ten Late News this week, Christopher Neff said: "Catch and destroy (the hunt for sharks that have bitten someone) is a short-term policy response that governments will do to try to pacify a highly emotional situation.

"But the fact is that the underlying issue is not being addressed by any of the politicians.

Maybe it’s time we let people know this is a wild ecosystem, not a swimming pool.
Maybe it’s time we let people know this is a wild ecosystem, not a swimming pool.

"That underlying issue is that the beach is a dynamic ecosystem, and that we are failing to educate the public and tell them the truth about it: that most the measures we try and use will not work.

"There will continue to be shark bites and the best thing we can do for beach safety is to be honest with the public."

When asked if catch and kill or conservation was the wrong discussion to be having, Mr Neff said it was.

"The underlying issue is being passed over," he said.

"The fact is they're not going away. Sharks will continue to bite people.

"You can't shark-proof Australia and so you have to address the fundamental issue that the beach is a dynamic ecosystem.

"You can't go into the Serengeti in Africa and pretend that lions don't bite people. Shark bites are an ungovernable issue within Mother Nature."

Lifelong surfers are aware of the risks and tend to be a little more cautious.
Lifelong surfers are aware of the risks and tend to be a little more cautious. Inbyronbaytodaycom

I believe he's right. Whether sharks do or don't hunt people is irrelevant and the desire to hunt sharks after someone is bitten is an emotional response.

Why is this relevant to us? Well, we live in a well-known (by surfers and fishos) stretch of coast for shark activity. Which also happens to be a massive zone for tourists who have little to zero understanding about the ecosystem they are going into.

As Christopher Neff stated, the best thing we can do for beach safety is to be honest with the public. Do we do that here?

Remember to have fun, wait your turn and surf today like you want to surf again tomorrow.

* Check out Ben's website

Topics:  editors picks shark attack sharks



Farewell for dancer who died after accident in Fiji

Former North Coast local, Cooper Cridland.

North Coast mourns tragic loss of talented 19-year-old man

Northern Rivers murder mystery takes out award at Flickerfest

MURDER MYSTERY: Northern Rivers young actress Yasmin Honeychurch in a still from the award-wiining film In a Canefield by Emily Avila and Coralie Tapper.

Finding'little star' brought film shoot to the region.

Highway traffic changes that you need to know about

The upgrade map of the Teven to Pimlico section of the Pacific Highway.

Speed limits are being reduced and there are some delays expected

Local Partners

Highway traffic changes that you need to know about

SPEED limits are being reduced and there are some delays expected as part of upgrade works on the Pacific Highway.


Northern Rivers murder mystery takes out award at Flickerfest

MURDER MYSTERY: Northern Rivers young actress Yasmin Honeychurch in a still from the award-wiining film In a Canefield by Emily Avila and Coralie Tapper.

Finding'little star' brought film shoot to the region.

Join the challenge to Live Life Large this Friday

Deborah and Neil Marks have been inspired by Jodie's Inspiration to Live Life Large.

Business owner's invitation to join her on Jodie's Inspiration hike

Things to do with your kids these school holidays

Founder of byron4kids, Michelle Ruthven, with her children.

One mother made it her task to help families discover what's on

REVIEW: Undressed is more than titilating entertainment

Nathan and Tahlia meet for the first time on the TV series Undressed.

'DIVERSE' dating show goes more than skin deep.

Northern Rivers murder mystery takes out award at Flickerfest

MURDER MYSTERY: Northern Rivers young actress Yasmin Honeychurch in a still from the award-wiining film In a Canefield by Emily Avila and Coralie Tapper.

Finding'little star' brought film shoot to the region.

Will there be a Game of Thrones spin-off?

Emilia Clarke and Peter Dinklage in a scene from season six episode 10 of Game of Thrones.

HBO’S original programming president has teased fans.

Ed Sheeran's intimate gigs down under

Singer Ed Sheeran

CHART-topper playing invite-only shows in Australia next month.

Eddie McGuire's scandal-free focus and new-look Hot Seat

Eddie McGuire hosts the new Millionaire Hot Seat Super Game.

HOST wants out of the hot seat himself to focus on game show revamp.

Embattled Amber Sherlock back on TV after leaked video

Amber Sherlock seems to have brushed off the leaked video

6 new estates to build a home on the Northern Rivers

Land estates are available now on the Northern Rivers with some stages opening up soon.

Looking for a place to put down roots and raise a family?

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

Should we be worried about 'For lease' signs in CBD?

Tommys is among the most recent businesses to close its doors in Lismore's CBD.

Tommys Tavern among the latest businesses to close

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!