The Australian Museum recently received a new intact goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) specimen. The specimen is that of a young male and measures 1.26m in length. The shark was caught off Eden, New South Wales in water that was “several hundred meters deep.” This marks the fourth goblin shark in the museum’s Ichthyology Collection.
The goblin shark is a deep-water species that is rarely encountered by humans. It is known for its rather unconventional appearance, which includes pink skin, a flattened snout, and a jaw that can extend forward to capture prey. Adult goblin sharks are thought to typically reach lengths between 3-4m. Though, a specimen caught Gulf of Mexico in 2000 was estimated to be between 5.4 and 6.2m.
YouTube user Ian Banks had a chance encounter with a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) on Wednesday while diving Kingscliff Reef off New South Wales, Australia. As you can see in the video, the shark didn’t stick around long upon Banks’ approach. The video just goes to show that, unlike what we often see in major media, sometimes white sharks are more afraid of humans than vice-versa.
Australia’s The Telegraph is reporting that onlookers claim a juvenile great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) was “bludgeoned to death in front of crying children.” The incident reportedly took place at Sussex Inlet in New South Wales. The 2m shark had been hooked by a fisherman and then landed on the boat dock where eyewitnesses claim the shark was beaten to death with a metal pole.
The killing of a white shark in Australia is punishable by a fine of up to $11,000 and a two-year jail sentence, according to The Telegraph.
It was reported that some of the people on the scene claimed that the shark (seen in this photo) was a mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), which is not protected in Australia. A spokesperson for the Department of Primary Industries, who are investigating the incident, said that thinking the shark was a mako was “not an excuse.”
Australia’s ABC News is reporting that a 28-year-old man sustained a shark bite to the arm while surfing off North Avoca, NSW yesterday.
The Herald Sun reports that witnesses described the shark as being brown in color and about 1.8m in length. The surfer was taken to Gosford Hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening. According to the Herald Sun, a hospital spokesman said that the victim was in a satisfactory condition and might not even need stitches.
The Conversation has an interesting article on the history of shark nets in Australia. The article, written by Christopher Neff, focuses primarily on the use of shark nets in the waters of New South Wales and gives a bit of history about how the nets first came to be. Neff also touches on the politics associated with the nets and the effectiveness of them in protecting humans from shark attacks.
Neff questions the effectiveness of shark nets noting that from 1937-2008 of the recorded shark attacks in New South Wales, 63% of them occurred at beaches using shark nets. He also points out that only one fatal attack has occurred at a netted beach in the state, but cautions that associating low fatality rates with the nets might be questionable, as there was a three year period in which the nets were removed and no fatalities were reported.
While the Neff certainly seems to lean in the direction of opposing the nets he admits that the issue of Australia’s shark nets is not a simple matter. Neff stresses the need for public safety measures and points out that the consequences from shark attacks can be “terrible.” However, he notes that public dialog and education are necessary to move away from outdated tactics that are leaving Australia behind.