Beach Grit’s Derek Reilly yesterday uploaded a typically brilliant piece to, um Beach Grit, arguing, by way of a piece written by fellow surf writer, Fred Pawle, it’s time for a rethink on how best to manage sharks.
In it, Reilly quotes large chunks of a piece Pawle wrote for The Australian, a Murdoch owned daily broadsheet Reilly refers to as “Influential”.
In Pawle’s article (not to be confused with Reilly’s one quoting Pawle) Pawle sought opinion from two sources, both pro shark, to mount his argument.
To quote Reilly quoting Pawle, “Pawle spoke to two leading researches who weren’t exactly thrilled by his angle. One, Barry Bruce of the CSIRO, didn’t reply to his emails. The other, Ryan Kempster, a shark biologist and founder of Support Our Sharks, replied, if cautiously.”
Reilly then continues to quote Pawle as saying “…People who wish to manage their own environment — even for recreational purposes such as swimming, surfing and diving — are not automatically on the wrong side. If you oppose culling, that’s fine. Knock yourself out. Go swimming with them if you like. But spare me the faux sympathy next time someone is killed. These deaths are not necessary.”
It’s an interesting angle, but ultimately, it’s one and the same as those wailing for the continued protection of the goddam Great White, that being, Something Has To Be Done.
But…does it? And if so, why the shark? What about whales, one of the shark’s main food sources. They’ve also been protected for years and consequently enjoyed a population increase.
And what about us?
To cut and copy a quote by Dr Jonathon Werry of the Large Shark Tagging Research Centre, quoted in Tracks last week. “We have more people using the water than in the past, hence more chance of human interaction.”
Maybe it’s really that simple, because when you think about it, if the bogey man can slip through the ever watchful eye of the WSL and creep up on Mick Fanning like it did at J-Bay this week, what chance do you have anyway?