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



$100 million good reasons why Casino's the Beef Capital

Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange at Casino.

Record prices for beef have flowed through to local producers

Work starts on supermarket, retail and cinema complex

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

Coding kits help re-float REDinc after flood

CEO of REDinc Marie Gale, former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, Lisa Newman and CEO LinkSprite Gavin Sigley showing eSpace how to use their new coding kits.

Former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman delivers some cheer

Local Partners

Bridge to close for repair works

ESSENTIAL repair work will be carried out after the cross beams on the bridge were damaged last year by a truck transporting an excavator.


First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Stories Troy Cassar-Daley carries around

LEGEND: Troy Cassar-Daley after receiving the Golden Guitar Award for Album of the Year during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

You can see him in Ballina this weekend

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Game of Thrones drops new trailer for season 7

GAME of Thrones fans are finally getting a full-throttled peak at the smash-hit show’s upcoming seventh season — after a brutal 11-month wait.

How true-blue train driver became a TV star

Bernie Baker stars in the TV series Railroad Australia.

Fan reactions still surprise Bernie Baker.

Conviction for Snapchat body shaming of elderly woman

Dani Mathers was arrested after snapping a photo of a naked, elderly woman in a US gym and posting it on social media. Picture: Supplied

Model convicted for secretly snapping and posting a naked gym pic

Work starts on supermarket, retail and cinema complex

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

Brutal Dawn rises from Bernard Fanning's studio

Australian musician Bernard Fanning with American record producer, engineer and mixer Nick DiDia in their Tyagarah studio.

Duo set to release follow-up to acclaimed album Civil Dusk

What's on the big screen this week

 Kaya Scodelario and Johnny Depp in a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

JACK Sparrow faces an old foe and Sam Worthington stars in The Shack

Rebel Wilson says she didn’t have to lie to make it

Rebel Wilson fronts the media on day two of her trial.

I'm not glamorous, but that doesn’t make me a liar

Work starts on supermarket, retail and cinema complex

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Bonville to become new housing hub

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into housing

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!