LETTERS: You have your say on the shark situation
Sharks v Surfers
THERE are a few things in life that you can count on. Where there is surf, there will be surfers, and every shark in the world lives in the ocean. These would seem to be a couple of life's constants, and there is very little that we can do to stop the two coming into contact with each other.
Now over the past few years there have been a couple of unfortunate meetings between these two forces of nature, and the powers that be have been wracking their brains to try and find a way to protect us from the inevitable, but perhaps they're looking at it all wrong?
Sometimes in life your weaknesses can become your strengths, and like it or not, Ballina is now known as the shark attack capital of the world. Perhaps we need to embrace our new found infamy and turn it to our advantage.
I'm proposing that Ballina Shire Council build a grandstand on North Wall and charge entry for the folks that want to watch the show. Now I know that this idea might sound a bit Roman and gladiatorial, but people will come from miles away for a chance to sit on a plastic seat, eat flake and chips and cheer on their respective favourites.
On the up side, the surfers would stand a much better chance of survival as the roar of 300 people rising to their feet shouting "shark” would alert them to the danger, and we get a bit of revenge on the sharky villains by eating yummy battered flake pieces and chips swimming in vinegar.
It's the perfect answer to a seemingly impossible problem. The surfers get to surf, plus they get to bask in gladiatorial fame. The sharks get left alone to do the things that they do best, and the town gets a brand new tourist attraction. Problem solved, sort of.
I DO hope all those people surveyed in The Northern Star that are against a shark cull 'because its their territory' are not fish and chip diners as fish have feelings too you know, and possibly potato plants as well!
Unlike regular swimmers and surfers they won't care that shark numbers will continue to climb to the point that Ballina's beaches will become permanently out of bounds for tourists and local ocean lovers.
Just how smart are the DPI's latest weapon the 'smart drum lines' when there has been serious reports from locals that the baiting of these lines close behind the wave breaking zone are in actual fact drawing more of these predators into the area. How smart is that!
I HAVE managed to remain silent during the past weeks/months during the discussions regarding the danger of sharks and the suggestions about how to prevent shark attacks on humans. I have done this because I am aware of the pain and suffering that can be caused to the families and friends of a victim, should the attack be fatal.
Should the victim survive after sustaining horrific injuries, then it is possible that long-term pain along with round-the-clock care may be necessary which may involve a huge cost to the family in terms of money, time and both physical and emotional stress. I have some knowledge of the pain due to the fact that an uncle of mine was killed by a shark while swimming inside an alleged shark proof salt-water swimming area.
Any suggestion to cull the sharks has, thankfully, been discounted along with other suggestions to prevent the attacks. Nets and other technological prevention methods may be partially successful but the cost to marine life may be too great.
Now here I have to disagree with letter writer Neil Edmonds who states, in reference to the ocean: "It's our environment too.”. I'm sorry Mr Edmonds, it is not our environment. We use, and have (mis)used the ocean for many reasons, eg as a means of travel, as a food source and , as a recreational area, but we do not live and very few work in it.
Some of those who do work on and in the ocean sometimes put their own lives at risk in order to, at least attempt to, save those of us who use that recreational area for our own individual pleasure.
I know people who are surfboard riders, kite surfers, scuba divers etc, many of them have said to me: "We know the risks, but we are prepared to take that risk".
I am often bemused by the arrogance of some humans who believe that we poor mortals can control the elements and the wild animals, usually to their own detriment. I believe there is only one sure way to prevent a shark attack: STAY OUT OF THE WATER.
It is possible you may be able to convince someone in government to spend money to build a wave pool and a shark proof swimming enclosure, such as a rock pool. Severe weather conditions may damage them and require money to be spent on repairing the damage, but continued maintenance is necessary for everything built by humans, so that may be too costly for a government to consider.
THE only successful shark nets are 49 nets deployed between Newcastle and Wollongong first installed in 1937 with only one fatality (a proven record) these nets are only in the water for a minimum of 24 hours on an average of 15 days a month for eight months a year. OK they kill a few sharks so what! So do the professional and amateur fishermen.