News

Defending our sharks

Madi Stewart photographs sharks in the Caribbean.
Madi Stewart photographs sharks in the Caribbean. Ernst Stewart

FEAR, coupled with human greed, is rapidly wiping out the world's shark population - and nowhere more quickly than on the Great Barrier Reef, says Byron Bay teenager Madison Stewart.

The 18-year-old, who has dived with thousands of sharks - sometimes up to 50 at a time - says they are more afraid of humans than we are of them, and their reputation as killers is undeserved.

There is, on average, one death a year from shark attacks in Australia, Madison says - and many more from bee stings.

But because of their fearsome image - she calls it the "Jaws effect" - the public is willing to ignore their extermination.

Combine this reluctance to act with the global billion-dollar shark-fin industry, and we have these magnificent animals being decimated and, in Australia, with the Federal Government's blessing, she said.

Madison began diving in Byron Bay at the age of 12, travelling from her home in Queensland because she could qualify for a SCUBA ticket at a younger age.

Her first dive was at Julian Rocks, where she saw several grey nurse sharks.

But she says she had always been in love with sharks, and had seen them many times before on free dives and while snorkelling on the Great Barrier reef and off the Gold Coast.

The Great Barrier Reef was where her conservationist drive kicked in - being there was "the best thing in the world; it was my Disneyland", she says.

From there her dives grew more exotic.

Aged 14, she accompanied her father, a dive master, to Tiger Beach in the Bahamas and started to shoot film.

Her film work and reputation as a diver and conservationist have led to her being chosen for a mini documentary and advertisement for the search engine Bing.

The ad screened on TV for the first time last weekend, and the film, which traces her underwater adventures, is available on the internet.

The ad campaign is the first by Bing and will feature other inspirational Australians.

Bing has previewed Madison's story and how she embodies "doing", launching her mini documentary online at bingisfordoing.com.au.

She intends to keep on "doing" - fearlessly.

"I want the Australian people to speak out and I'm using film to encourage people to choose to reverse the Jaws effect," she said.

"The (Australian) shark fin trade is a powerful industry, where fins are sent to Asia for soup. But people here can stop eating the body of the shark, which is a by-product of the fin trade."

James Cook University research shows the populations of white-tipped reef sharks and grey nurse sharks are down by 97%, she says.

 

What is Bing?

BING is computer giant Microsoft's answer to the Google search engine.

Like Google, Bing combines web searches with other features such as maps, images and videos along with other features.

Topics:  diving hunt ocean sea sharks



Pensioner fleeced by suspected scam now faces eviction

PENNILESS: Disability pensioner Craig Tweedie (left) has been left with no money after a suspected scammer fleeced his bank account of $568 - and his bank say they can't help. On the right of the picture is his carer, Sheron Wood.

Local man in strife after bank balance goes missing

Everyday women shine in sensual images

'Showcasing beautiful Evans Head'.

New trend in photos with 5 tips on taking your most sensual selfie

Nollsie's new album and latest shenanigans

Shannon Noll

Photo Contributed

The singer is coming to the Northern Rivers

Local Partners

Nollsie's new album and latest shenanigans

THE controversial singer is coming to the Northern Rivers to prmote his new album.

Kimmel roasts Damon at Oscars

Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Oscars 2017: Live Coverage of the 89th Academy Awards.

Oscars guest’s shocking wardrobe malfunction

Blanca Blanco arrives for the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, USA, 26 February 2017.

ACTRESS suffers X-rated wardrobe malfunction.

High energy show promised by Bullhorn this weekend

Bullhorn will perform in Yamba on Saturday night.

Don't miss their show this weekend

Star style at the Oscars 2017 red carpet

Nicole Kidman arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Oscars 2017: Red Carpet Dresses and Outfits — Best Dressed Celebs.

Married At First Sight couple flouts the rules

Sean and Susan in a scene from Married At First Sight.

ONE couple is openly flouting the rules of Married At First Sight.

The one film that could beat La La Land

Mahershala Ali and Alex R Hibbert in a scene from the movie Moonlight.

OSCARS 2017 predictions: Who will win on the big night?

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!