Saturday, December 17, 2005

Shark sightings call for better safety measures

A SPATE of great white shark sightings along Adelaide's metropolitan beaches has triggered calls for steel mesh to be installed at the city's most popular beach.It is 12 months yesterday since a great white killed 18-year-old surfer Nick Peterson just 200m off West Beach, one of the city's most popular bathing spots.

State Government figures show there have been 29 shark sightings off metropolitan beaches in the past six months.

Glen Jones, a charter fisherman from Adelaide, said shark numbers increased after storms when they came in from the deep to feed off reefs.

"I don't swim out deep - I won't go in above my head, no way," said Mr Jones, 38. "It's a ridiculous thing to do."

Anglers further out in Gulf StVincent say the sharks are aggressive and hungry.

Fisherman John Carman said he still "gets the shivers" just talking about his encounter with a 4.5m great white shark three weeks ago, while fishing 10km off northern Adelaide.

"I've seen sharks jump out of the water in films - but to see it in real life is just bloody scary," he said.

Mr Carman, 64, laid a baited crab net on the bed of the gulf about 15m below his 6m aluminium fishing boat. At about 10.30am, without warning, the shark emerged from the water close to the right side of the boat and became airborne, so close Mr Carman said "I could have touched it with my hand".

Three anglers - Mr Carman, John Nicholls and Adelaide sculptor Silvio Apponyi - were drenched when the shark jumped about 2m into the air and splashed down 5m from the boat.

Theirs is the latest in a series of startling shark encounters fishermen have reported more than 5km off Adelaide beaches.

The sightings have led the local member for popular Glenelg beach, Duncan McFetridge, to call for a stainless steel barrier to protect swimmers.

"Because of the recent history of shark attacks and the large number of shark sightings close to shore, some form of permanent barrier is essential," Dr McFetridge said.

"Advice I have been given by shark experts is that there will be more attacks along our coastline unless more intensive measures to protect swimmers are undertaken," he said.

Two south Adelaide beaches, Christies and Port Noarlunga, were evacuated due to shark sightings on Wednesday.

Since the fatal attack on Peterson, University of Adelaide marine biologist Jarrod Stehbens, 23, was killed while diving 5km off Glenelg in August.

Shark attacks also injured two surfers in September, off the Eyre Peninsula and the southwest coast of Kangaroo Island.


Post a Comment

<< Home