Monday, August 06, 2012

Avoiding Shark Strikes?

Source (WARNING: graphic!)

What is going on?
Is it me, or is 2012 shaping up to be a particularly bad year for serious Shark strikes, several of which appear to be fully fledged predatory attacks?

Mind you, the numbers are still minuscule.
But these are horrific events and whereas they certainly don't warrant the hysterical reactions by the media, the public and the authorities, it would be equally wrong to just try and spin them away. Yes the sample size is so low that any authoritative statements about the precise causes of the specific events are likely to be fallacious - but that does not mean that we should refuse to talk about plausible hypotheses.

This is particularly true when it comes to the Great Whites.
We may be witnessing the result of successful conservation measures leading to increased populations of both the Sharks and their prey. And on the other side, it appears that there are also ever more aquatic recreationists frequenting ever more coastal areas for an ever longer period of time, the latter due to better weather gear allowing them to prolong the season. And this year, there may even be a weather component that may, or may not be linked to anthropogenic climate change.
Yes at this stage this may still be speculative - but it certainly warrants some closer inspection and once we should have obtained those data, we may well be faced with some highly uncomfortable conclusions. To be blunt: like it or not, that could even imply a revision of the conservation status of some local populations!

But that's then.
Right now, the solution is obviously adaptation.
This is essentially a numbers game, meaning that Shark strikes will continue to happen whatever we do - but we can certainly reduce the chances, and as always, doing so boils down to nothing more than common sense.

Here's the take of Neff .
It's a great piece and I like the suggestion that one needs to acknowledge and then try and minimize the inherent risks of one's activities. In his words

First, education means treating a trip to “the beach” like you would a trip to “the bush.”
This shift in thinking changes our expectations of safety and preparation. Looking at the ocean as the wild, (which it is) means making an informed choice about the risks we are taking based on our behaviour.

Camping alone in the wilderness is dangerous, as is surfing, swimming or snorkeling...

...Third, we need to assume that the beach is not “safe.”
As the wild, we presume that shark bites occur. However, since many of us (including me) love the ocean, there may be things we can consider, to better inform our decision-making and governments can tell us more.

Could not agree more!
But then,I had to laugh out loud when I saw, copy/paste
Here are three examples of steps governments can take to help people avoid shark attacks:
Really? After all that verbose preaching?
Anyway, good intelligent stuff, so kudos.

And here's an equally smart one by para_sight.
H/T Deep-Sea News.

Oh, and then, there is this.
Talk about getting straight to the point!

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