CISRO researcher discusses recent Australia white shark attacks

Australia’s ABC News recently interviewed CISRO shark researcher Barry Bruce regarding the string of reported white sharks attacks in Western Australia waters. Bruce points out that while white shark attacks are extremely tragic and are “high profile,” they are still extremely rare. Bruce addresses the issues of the “rogue shark” theory, as well as the practice of culling.

According to Bruce, the likelihood of a rogue shark being involved in multiple attacks is highly unlikely. Bruce also states that while there are areas where sharks will commonly frequent, there is no evidence to suggest that they stalk particular areas in search of humans. He goes on to say that there is no evidence to suggest that a shark who has a attacked a human is any more or less likely to be involved in a future attack on a human. Bruce says the extremely rare nature of shark attacks and the migratory patterns and movements of sharks would make localized culling an ineffective measure for reducing future shark attacks.

In related news, the Sydney Morning Herald has an opinion piece by Christopher Neff on shark hunts as a reactive measure to shark attacks. Neff and Bruce both seem to be in agreement that while shark attacks are terrible and tragic events, attempting to hunt and kill the sharks involved is unlikely to prevent future attacks.

One comment

  1. drudown says:

    It is refreshing to hear an expert acknowledge the White shark’s generalist feeder predation patterns in the wake of a shark attack.

    Far from a rise in pinniped populations being a “cause” of increased attacks on humans, a more plausible nexus might exist with a material depletion in fish stocks- which is, of course, a large part of adult White sharks’ diet.

    Even if there have been more attacks on humans in Western Australia, (1) it is still statistically very infrequent and (2) humans are a known, tertiary prey item. I mean, how long have the White sharks in this gene pool been preying on Homo sapiens? More than 50,000 years.

    With a deeper course of dealing written upon the coil of their genes deeper still.

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