Editorial: Shark attack no reason to stay out of the water

Police prepare to shoot a shark after a  fatal attack on a swimmer at Muriwai Beach.  Photo / Supplied
Police prepare to shoot a shark after a fatal attack on a swimmer at Muriwai Beach. Photo / Supplied

Public needs to put Muriwai tragedy into perspective

This glorious summer will be memorable now for more than the weather, 2013 has seen a fatal shark attack, a nightmare New Zealand has known only a dozen times in its recorded history, the last one 37 years ago.

It can be no consolation to the family of Adam Strange, killed by a great white off Muriwai on Wednesday, but fatal attacks are so rare that his death will long remain in the public memory.

So will the actions of those who went to his aid.

It must have taken courage for a policeman armed with a rifle, and three lifeguards, to get into an inflatable boat and race to the scene where the shark still had the body in its grip.

Film shows they had to circle the 3m predator repeatedly and it took a dozen shots before the shark rolled over and disappeared, presumably dead.

Auckland's West Coast beaches will be sombre this weekend but they might not be the only ones where people might be reluctant to go back in the water.

They need not be. Marine scientists insists - and divers confirm - that sharks are not drawn to human prey.

Nor is there a need for shark nets at popular beaches or any additional precautions beyond the air and sea surveillance that often gives a warning when a shark is sighted.

Considering the frequency of the sightings and the numbers in the sea in summer, the rarity of attacks is remarkable.

We should remember that, too.

- NZ Herald

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