Saturday, August 27, 2005

Great white shark, a protected specie that feeds on unprotected victims according to this article!

Whenever there's a fatal shark attack in Australia, the chief suspect is usually the feared predator, the great white.

Yesterday's attack on marine biologist Jarrod Stehbens off Adelaide's Glenelg Beach was no exception.

While authorities remain uncertain what type of shark took Mr Stehbens as he was diving in search of cuttlefish eggs, shark expert Andrew Fox says it's likely to have been a great white, also known as a white pointer.

"The great white shark is really the only large predatory shark that's capable of actually taking a diver," Mr Fox says.

The great white is found all around Australia's southern coast but favours the waters of South Australia as a prime hunting ground.

Great whites are a protected species in Australia and are regarded as endangered around the world.

But they have attained a terrifying status in Australia following a number of fatal attacks in recent years.

Before yesterday, the most recent in South Australia was in December last year when 18-year-old Nick Peterson was attacked while being towed on a surfboard behind a boat off Adelaide's West Beach - just one kilometre from the site of yesterday's attack at Glenelg.

In 1985, a great white killed Shirley Anne Durdin, 33, who was bitten in half while snorkelling at Peake Bay on SA's Eyre Peninsula.

The same species was blamed for the death of Adelaide University student Jonathan Lee, 19, who was killed while diving off Aldinga Beach, south of Adelaide, in 1991.

In 1999, TV sound recordist Tony Donoghue went missing while windsurfing in Hardwicke Bay on SA's Yorke Peninsula - apparently killed by a white pointer.

In 2000, great whites were believed responsible for killing two men in two days off the SA coast.
New Zealander Cameron Bayes was dragged off his surfboard by a great white at Cactus Beach, south of Penong on SA's west coast.

The next day, some 250km away, 17-year-old Jevan Wright was grabbed by a shark at Black Point near Elliston.

Also in 2000, a great white up to four metres long fatally mauled father-of-three Ken Crew, 49, as he swam at Perth's popular Cottesloe Beach.

Two years later, on SA's west coast, a six metre great white grabbed professional diver Paul Buckland as he dived for scallops off Smoky Bay in the Great Australian Bight.

In July last year, a great white and a large bronze whaler were believed responsible for killing surfer Brad Smith near Gracetown in south-west Western Australia.

A great white was also suspected of killing boat skipper Geoffrey Brazier, 26, taken as he snorkelled in WA's Abrolhos Islands in March last year.

According to shark expert Rodney Fox, who is Andrew Fox's father, SA's Spencer Gulf is probably the best feeding ground in the southern ocean for white pointers.

Mr Fox, who survived a savage attack by a great white and has spent much of his life studying sharks, says he has seen more great whites in that area than anywhere else in southern Australia.
"It's probably the best restaurant in the whole southern ocean," he once said.

Great whites grow to up to seven metres, have huge and powerful jaws and are also capable of reaching speeds of up to 16kph - more than 10kph faster than the average swimmer, experts say.
Great whites are now a protected species in Australia and laws prohibit its hunting.

Last year, Australia announced it would push for a global ban on trade in great white shark products.

Australia said it would nominate the shark for listing under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.


Post a Comment

<< Home