Below is a recent article written by Kathy Sundstrom in our local Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper published on the 9th October 2014. She called me for a phone interview brought on by the recently reported shark encounter in Mooloolaba. The following article was the result of that discussion:
SUNSHINE COAST DAILY:
“A RESPECTED shark expert has called for mandatory education in schools and for tourists to make them “shark-savvy” following video footage of a great white circling a boat off Mooloolaba.
Darryl Kitching said he was terrified when the five-metre-long shark circled the family’s seven-metre boat for about 20 minutes, sometimes nudging its side.
Mr Kitching said it was something he had never experienced in his 40 years of fishing.
“I was very glad I was in the boat,” he said.
Shark expert Tony Isaacson of Kawana, said there was likely to be a number of great whites off the Coast as they followed humpback whales heading south.
Mr Isaacson said that with proper education, people need not fear sharks and he could not understand why this was not taught at schools and to tourists visiting the area.
“People need to be shark-savvy,” he said.
He said an incident at Byron Bay earlier this month in which a swimmer was killed by a great white happened “a year to the day” he had an encounter with the feared species in the same location.
“I was filming grey nurse sharks and then they started forcing me down to the ocean floor,” Mr Isaacson said.
“I had never had this experience before and couldn’t work out why they were pushing me down.
The next thing I saw a 4.5 metre great white above them. This is not unusual, but they are usually quite well fed.”
Visit the Daily’s website to see Mr Kitching’s video of the great white.
Twenty-six sharks have been caught in nets or drum lines off the Coast since January.
Sharks caught in nets and drumlines, January 1 to September 30:
Noosa 9 – 5 tiger sharks, 4 whalers
Maroochydore 4 – 1 long-nose whaler, 1 hammerhead, 1 great hammerhead, 1 bull whaler
Marcoola 3 – 1 tiger, 2 whalers
Wurtulla 2 – 1 great hammerhead, 1 sharp tooth shark
Coolum Beach – 2 long-nose whalers
Alex Headland – 1 great hammerhead
Twin Waters – 1 grey nurse shark
Peregian – 1 tiger shark
Castaways – 1 tiger shark
Marcus Beach – 1 tiger shark
Currimundi – 1 tiger shark
Some safety tips to minimise the chance of shark attack:
- Swim or surf only at patrolled beaches – between the flags and where shark safety equipment is in place
- Leave the water immediately if a shark is sighted
- Do not swim or surf after dusk, at night, or before dawn when sharks become more active
- Do not swim or surf in murky or silt-laden waters
- Do not swim in, or at the mouth of, rivers, estuaries, artificial canals and lakes
- Never swim alone
- Never swim when bleeding
- Do not swim near schools of fish or where fish are being cleaned
- Do not swim near, or interfere with, shark control equipment
- Do not swim with animals”.
Related articles about recent local shark sightings by the Sunshine Coast: