we are all on our own! message from the government regarding great whites
SWIMMERS should take more responsibility for keeping themselves safe from sharks, according to a Government report.
And authorities get annoyed that their efforts to educate the community often fall on deaf ears because people think they are "shark experts" when they're not.
For instance, the idea of a rogue shark that has developed a taste for human blood is unfounded.
A Department of Fisheries internal report gives a rare insight into the Government's opinions on the record spate of shark attacks off our coast.
Two weeks ago 24-year-old surfer Ben Linden became the fifth person to be killed by a shark in WA in 10 months when he was attacked off Wedge Island.
The deaths have prompted Fisheries to develop a campaign to ease fears among swimmers.
The Sunday Times obtained a report summarising a Fisheries workshop on campaign priorities.
Under the headline "Issues", it said: "Must focus on desire is for the public to have a realistic understanding of interaction with the marine environment, particularly in relation to sharks."
The document also said: "Irrespective of whether they are (or not), everyone thinks they are shark experts makes education difficult."
Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said the points raised during the workshop were not a "government position", but they were "not inconsistent with what Government is seeking to achieve through the community engagement strategy".
The report quotes data presented during the workshop by shark scientist Rory McAuley which said there had been 121 shark attacks in WA since 1893.
According to the Australian Shark Attack File, 62 per cent of these resulted in no injuries or minor injuries. Sixteen per cent of attacks were fatal.
Mr McAuley told the workshop that the "rogue shark" theory that the predators liked to prey on humans and had a taste for our meat was not supported by evidence.
It said victims of attacks were rarely eaten and that attack locations were separated by up to thousands of kilometres.
"Definition of a rogue shark includes two assumptions that there is a benefit to the shark in targeting humans and that these animals exhibit some level of residency," the report said.
"(This is) unsubstantiated opinion based on no evidence."
Mr McAuley told the workshop that data for assessing shark numbers, particularly great whites, in the state was "extremely limited".
Accurate analysis is complicated because scientists are unsure of the patterns of shark-population growth
HMM LETS JUST SAY ITS THERE FAULT SO WE DONT HAVE TO SPEND ANY MONEY FIXING THE PROBLEM!! typical bloody government
ALL FISHERMEN ARE LIARS EXCEPT YOU AND ME! AND IM NOT SO SURE ABOUT YOU!