Controversial shark author warns of vigilantism

Marine historian and author Eric Kotz has released the second edition of his contentious non-fiction The Jawsome Coast(s).
Marine historian and author Eric Kotz has released the second edition of his contentious non-fiction The Jawsome Coast(s). Samantha Poate

THE controversial shark attack and mitigation book, The Jawsome Coast(s), was back for a second edition.

Author and Marine Historian Eric Kotz will be in Ballina this week to discuss and present his expanded edition of the non-fiction novel.

Mr Kotz will host a free seminar tonight, to discuss his latest edition and to myth bust mitigation techniques currently used in the country.

"I am going to deal with the latest and greatest of what we have done for mitigation and deterrence." he said.

"No doubt I will get challenged on some of my thoughts but we have had a wide experience in Port Lincoln with this problem and it is continuing to get worse there - and it will continue to get worse here as they multiply and grow."

Mr Kotz believes smart drumlines have displayed the best results when it comes to minimising attacks in our region.

"I think the smart drumlines you've got now are the smartest way to go about it," he said.

"(They) have caught 170 to 180 white sharks along your little stretch of the coast, which to me is a phenomenal number.

"As far as I can see the nets have worked too, I'm not talking about the side effects like bycatch, but as far as protecting people the nets have got a proven record."

Some contentious topics will also be addressed in the meeting tonight.

"In South Australia, at least three or four sharks this year were shot because they posed too big a risk to country towns who have nothing else.

"I know there is vigilante action being taken over there and nobody says anything about it.

"I've been in Ballina for less than 24 hours and I have been told perhaps there might be a little bit of that starting to happen here soon."

Mr Kotz said a strategy to minimise the amount of sharks on the coastline could be taking dead washed up whales to a processing plant.

In Port Lincoln, they use processing plants on tuna farms to stop fish waste going back into the water which would attract sharks.

"When they dug up marine mammals that have been in local land fill for four or five years they have hardly disintegrated at all. Which means whales on the beaches here are going to take years to decompose and the whole time that is happening their odours are flying out to sea and it is natural burly trail for white pointers."

The Jawsome Coast(s) chronologically discusses the epidemic in South and Western Australia.

However after it caused quite a stir in the Northern Rivers, Mr Kotz decided to expand his work by adding seven more chapters with attention drawn to Ballina.

"I wrote another six or eight chapters on the developments in the last 18 months," Mr Kotz said.

"I've also added another 40 to 50 photos, some of them I can guarantee have never been seen before."

The lecture will be at Lennox Head Community Centre on tonight from 7pm.

Topics:  northern rivers beaches shark attacks shark mitigation smart drumlines

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