An aerial photo of sharks near surfers. Photo Contributed Rotorwing Helicopter Services
An aerial photo of sharks near surfers. Photo Contributed Rotorwing Helicopter Services Contributed Rotorwing Helicopter

OPINION: Is it time to stop playing politics over sharks?

HAS the shark debate in this country been politicised and does this have economic implications?

Dr Christopher Neff, a shark expert from the University of Sydney, has some pretty interesting views on those subjects.

Although he says he is no "shark hugger", he has debunked the myth of the "rogue" shark that is out to eat us by saying most of the time we are just in the way, "not on the menu".

He also says there are no such things as "shark attacks" only "shark bite incidents" and that no shark has ever developed a taste for human flesh as was portrayed in the various Jaws movies.

He lays part of the blame at the feet of "sensationalist" media coverage of shark incidents and believes some politicians have a vested interest in keeping the shark myth going.

After all, which politician is going to remove shark nets from his electorate, and be responsible for a shark bite incident or, heaven forbid, a fatality.

He has some pretty interesting stats to consider.

He has added up that $82 million has been promised by various governments to roll out shark mitigation strategies and yet there is no silver bullet that is ever going to stop sharks biting humans.

Dr Neff has applauded the efforts of the Baird Government for trying and believes eco shark barriers and shark cables can be an effective deterrent under the right circumstances.

Interestingly, he says aerial shark patrols miss about 88% of sharks.

He has also done a survey in Ballina which shows 83% of people support eco shark mitigation measures.



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