North Avoca Shark Attack

January 19, 2012 by staff 

North Avoca Shark Attack, TONY EASLTEY: Australia has never seen so many surfers and some people would say we’ve never experienced so many shark attacks.

A 44 year old man is recovering in hospital after he was mauled by a shark at a beach near Newcastle, north of Sydney, yesterday.

Last year there were four fatal shark attacks along with dozens of near misses. Despite the attacks surfers remain undaunted about sharing the water with potential killers.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Witnesses say the attack at Redhead Beach near Newcastle resembled a scene from the movie Jaws.

The shark came up from the deep. Its serrated-edge teeth tore deep cuts in the 44 year old’s upper thigh. Despite bleeding heavily he managed to paddle to the beach and is now recovering in hospital.

According to Perth-based shark expert Hugh Edwards a bull shark is the most likely culprit.

HUGH EDWARDS: A bull shark attack is characterised usually by injuries to the upper thigh, legs. The shark doesn’t seem to eat pieces of a person. It’s a territorial attack or just general aggression.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: It’s the second shark attack in as many weeks along the New South Wales coast.

A surfer was bitten on the arm by a shark at North Avoca beach earlier this month. Last year four people were killed in shark attacks.

Hugh Edwards maintains there are more sharks these days. He says their numbers have been rising since it became illegal to hunt for whales and seals in Australian waters.

HUGH EDWARDS: And if the base food of the predators increases then the predators increase. So I think there are more sharks but nobody can say for certain.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Sharks are generally believed to feed at dawn and at dusk. These are also the best times to catch waves. Not surprisingly surfers are often the victim of attacks.

SURFER: How was that left hander you got out there? You just totally (inaudible) that thing man.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: But this didn’t seem to faze the board riders at Sydney’s Bondi Beach last night. Brett Anderson told me he surfs every day.

Do you think about sharks when you’re out in the waves?

BRETT ANDERSON: Not that much, no. I think about sharks a lot if I go swimming but I never seem to when I’m surfing for some reason, unless you know it’s really early morning in a remote, dark place and there’s no-one else around. Then I might think about them.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Do surfers usually have a pretty good idea when it comes to being safe when it come to sharks?

BRETT ANDERSON: I mean most people who you know are surfers that have grown up surfing and have surfed for a long time would have a good idea about the behaviour of sharks feeding you know early in the morning, late at night, that sort of thing.

But the problem is, and you see a lot of really ignorant comments on news stories online about you know not going surfing in the morning. But the problem is that the surf’s usually best first thing in the morning because of the wind.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Others surfers told me that the water belongs to the sharks and that you enter at your own risk.

SURFER 2: Those that surf need to respect the reality that it is their landscape, it is their environment and we are mere custodians of their water and their living. So if we do get eaten or we do get bitten we can’t cry foul.

TONY EASLTEY: Some of the surfers at Bondi Beach in Sydney ending that report from Michael Edwards.

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