Saturday, April 05, 2014

Helen about preventing Shark Strikes!

Have you seen this?

To be mentioned in the same article as those preposterous (bravo Megalodon!) Shark repellent wetsuits is the peak of ignominy! But of course we are highly grateful for the plug, and for the equally honorable mention at 20:00ff in her podcast.
Thank you, very much appreciated!

But Helen has of course fallen into the usual trap.
Because with all due respect (!) for the concerned, those Shark strikes are actually totally irrelevant.
They are so incredibly rare, and the variables influencing them, so numerous and complex that any attempts at ever fully understanding, let alone fully preventing them will always fail. With a very few notable exceptions, those poor people that got bitten and sometimes killed did nothing "wrong" besides being in the wrong place at the wrong time - and nothing we will do will ever fully eliminate that infinitesimally small risk.

Obviously there are situations where the risk can be mitigated.
Wherever adequate and possible, ocean pools and Shark exclusion nets work 100%. Some technical solutions appear promising for protecting relatively small areas. Adequate, mostly common sense behavior and risk management can reduce the number of avoidable strikes, as could e.g. seasonal avoidance or even closures of known aggregation sites, etc.

Personal protection devices, not convinced.
Be it e.g. the Shark Shield or those darn wetsuits, they are ultimately untestable and quite possibly nothing more than placebos - but herein lays the danger insofar as the perceived protection may well lead to riskier behavior by their users.

Ultimately, it's all much ado about nothing.
Like Branson remarks, all the noise is actually counterproductive - and many, more savvy tourist destinations have learned that hushing things up may well be the best strategy. 

Because noise or no noise, cull or no cull, stripes or no stripes - people will continue to get bitten by Sharks.
And that's perfectly normal and as such, perfectly OK.

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