According to the Australia Shark File, there have been 689 cases of unprovoked shark attacks reported since 1791. Almost 30% of those reports had been fatal. However, recent reports had been rather puzzling as all shark attacks reported in Western Australia took place in a single state alone.
Theories of all kinds have naturally been suggested to explain this phenomenon. Many believe that the increase of shark attacks in Western Australia may be due to a possibly significant increase of local populations of white sharks. Some experts suggest that it’s more likely due to a combination of factors, such as having more sharks and people in the water at the same time.
Deadliest Waters in Western Australia
Experts believe that shark populations in this part of the world may be increasing due to the migrating routes that white sharks take between feeding and their mating grounds. Moreover, white sharks are known to have inquisitive personalities and this may have caused them to pursue anything unusual in the water, which may include everything from surfboards to buoys to humans themselves.
From Summer Incidents to Year-Round Attacks
Historic records show that the majority of unprovoked shark attacks had taken place in the months of summer. Recent years have shown a change in this trend, especially when it comes to surfers and divers. With today’s increasingly advanced designs and technology for wetsuits, people are now able to stay on or under water for longer hours and withstand lower temperatures at the same time.
Aside from being motivated to protect the local population from unprovoked shark attacks, the government may also be keen to implement effective measures to prevent continued attacks from having a considerable impact on Western Australia’s tourism industry.
One solution that the government is currently considering is to increase the number of white sharks that commercial fishermen may catch. However, this solution requires careful reviewing as it can lead to unfair exploitation and earn criticism from animal and environmental protection groups.
Another solution but still requires a good amount of research is to employ a system of bubbles as a way of repelling sharks. Other suggested solutions include the use of enclosures and nets or the creation of ocean pools. The idea of using electromagnetic repellents has also been entertained.
As far as all these solutions are concerned, providing funding for the right research groups is essential to implementing effective statewide measures. Obtaining support from the federal government is also critical.
Meanwhile, many local surfers prefer to take matters in their own hands. Some have avoided surfing in Western Australia. Others have put a temporary but an indefinite stop to surfing activities. Those who find the lure of surfing impossible to resist, try and mitigate the risk by avoiding surfing alone and at hours when beaches are empty of crowds.