Sharks in general have unfortunately always had a reputation as blood-thirsty killing machines due to media. Classic movies have always portrayed them as unpredictable, violent killers that kill for pleasure. But more and more people are joining the movement to leave our post-Jaws generation way of thinking behind.
Our very own star the Great White Shark has taken most of the blame, although other sharks have also been pulled into the hubbub. One of them the Bull Shark, considered the deadliest of all the sharks. But nonetheless, Tony Isaac, the inaugural president of the Marine Life Society of South Australia is dedicating his time to end what he calls a frenzied hysteria surrounding these apex hunters.
Mr Isaac established the marine studies unit at Sunshine Coast Grammar and is of firm belief that understanding the sharks better would help residents and surfers to co-exist with them better. He had a fear of sharks for most of his life, but then teamed up with Paul de Gelder, whose right arm and leg got torn off by a bull shark. The decided to brave the shark infested waters of Beqa Lagoon and their journey was broadcasted as an hour long feature. He encourages water sports but encourages everyone to be “shark safe”. Be careful of canals and other areas where sharks have known habitats. Avoid waters which you cannot sleep through and also be weary after heavy rains. It is apparently a biological trigger for sharks to move from coastal areas into shallower waters, lagoons and estuaries.
We often forget that these sharks were here long before we came along and claimed their habitats as ours. Human nature also often compels us to do stupid things and then we blame others for whatever happens. We need to fight our fear, be smart and find a peaceful way to co-exist with these magnificent creatures.