Call for shark packs at beaches

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

SHARK culling op­po­nent Sea Shep­herd wants med­i­cal packs with tourni­quets to treat shark at­tack vic­tims at surf breaks af­ter surfer Ben Ger­ring (29) lost a leg – and ul­ti­mately his life – to a shark at Fal­con last week.

“That is go­ing to save lives, be­cause ev­ery sec­ond is pre­cious,” Sea Shep­herd man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jeff Hansen said.

It was re­ported a surfer ran to get a roof rack strap to tie a tourni­quet around Mr Ger­ring’s leg af­ter he was brought ashore.

Mr Hansen said surfers in iso­lated areas should also be des­ig­nated to send out shark warn­ings to their mates by text and there should be greater ed­u­ca­tion about events that at­tract sharks, in­clud­ing Aus­tralian sal­mon schools re­ported near Fal­con dur­ing an­nual mi­gra­tion that has boomed since the end of com­mer­cial net­ting of the fish.

“Last year, 1209 peo­ple died on Aus­tralian roads and on av­er­age, five to 10 peo­ple die from shark at­tacks world­wide, so it is clear given the num­ber of peo­ple who en­ter the sea we are not on the menu, we’re just some­thing that gets in the way of sharks,” Mr Hansen said.

He was scep­ti­cal a 4.2m great white shark caught by Fish­eries at Fal­con three days ago was the same an­i­mal in the at­tack.

Surf Life­sav­ing WA spokesman Chris Peck said med­i­cal packs were a good idea that had been dis­cussed af­ter a shark at­tack at Grace­town, but is­sues of ac­cess, se­cu­rity of the packs con­tents and van­dal­ism had to be solved.

“We would en­cour­age surfers to have kits in their cars, in their board bags, and to get med­i­cal and first aid train­ing,” Mr Peck said.

He said a cul­ture of per­sonal safety should in­clude surfers’ own so­cial me­dia and mo­bile phone in­for­ma­tion net­works about shark threats, check­ing the State Gov­ern­ment SharkS­mart web­site and be­ing fa­mil­iar an­nual events like the sal­mon run that at­tract sharks.

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