“Monster” media spreads (unnecessary) fear off Queensland coast

The Courier-Mail recently posted a story titled, Monster shark spreads fear off Queensland coast, focusing on a supposed "monster" white shark, which is so large that it was able to nearly bite a 3m (approximately 10′) white shark "in half" (with two bites on alternating sides, that is). The 3m shark was bitten after it was "snared on a baited drumline." The Courier-Mail posted this picture of the 3m white shark with the bite marks from the larger shark. The article goes on to estimate the size of this "monster" to be 5m (approximately 16.5′) or more. The article also refers to the shark as a "giant" great white, when not repeatedly referring to it as a "monster shark."

Let’s take a step back into reality, shall we? 5m is not outside of the range of what would generally be considered a normal length for an adult white shark. It is hardly a "giant," relatively speaking, when it comes to white sharks. So, who is spreading the fear about a monster off the coast of Queensland? Is it the actual shark or the over-the-top sensationalized reporting about the shark?

Believe it or not, this is just a wild animal. It's not actually a monster.
Believe it or not, this is just a wild animal. It's not actually a monster.

The article goes on to discuss the controversial topic of shark nets. Aside from the unnecessary sensationalism, one thing about the article that did strike me as interesting was that it mentioned that Vic Hislop (great white shark "hunter") does not support the use of shark nets due to the overall damage they cause to the marine environment, and that he supports methods to "scare away sharks rather than capture and kill them." This comes as a bit of surprise considering some of Hislop’s statements about sharks, which were featured in a recent Edit International article.

4 comments

  1. Michelle says:

    I just read the Edit International article and just had to point out to Vic Hislop:

    If “they don’t have a nervous system as we know it, everything they do is by instinct” then how can it also be that “once a shark has tasted humans he will attack over and over again… he never forgets”?

    So is memory just an instinct these days? I’ll try to remember that next time I lose my car keys.

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