Shark experts from around the world met in Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on Tuesday to discuss the best way to combat an unprecedented number of shark attacks on the New South Wales (NSW) North Coast, and elsewhere, over recent months.
The number of unprovoked attacks by sharks on humans continues to increase steadily around the world and tourism is being affected, according to local operators.
The shark summit was called after a period of aggressive shark activity in New South Wales. A Japanese Surfer was killed at Ballina on the NSW north coast in February. While that is the only fatality, there have been 13 shark attacks in New South Wales so far this year, up from three last year.
Electrical and physical barriers are being investigated, including sonar detection and tracking. Surveys show that more than 80% of people in the Ballina and Byron shires on the NSW north coast oppose actually killing sharks.
About 70 shark experts are looking at ways to deter sharks without killing them. Suggestions have included bubble curtains, shark repellent cables and personal shark shields, ABC News reported.
The problem goes far beyond Australia.
“The number of worldwide unprovoked shark attacks has grown at a steady pace since 1900, with each decade having more attacks than the previous,” reports the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Attacks have taken place everywhere from Brazil to South Carolina and Florida in the USA, to South Africa and New Zealand.
Written by Peter Needham