Sharks Are Not the Enemy

My buddy Jo with a reef shark at Sipadan

My buddy Jo with a reef shark at Sipadan

Recent shark attacks off the Western Australian coast have become a political hot potato as the City of Perth prepares itself for hosting an international event that will attract the focus of world media – the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Political leaders in Perth are at a loss as to how to deal with a media-fuelled frenzy, unparallelled since Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel ‘Jaws’ was adapted to the Hollywood big screen.

Three recent deaths all appear to be the handiwork of what the press have described as a ‘rogue monster’ Great White shark.

The head honcho in Perth, whose name isn’t even worth recording, has ordered his henchmen to hunt down and execute this man-eater for the safety of our swimmers.

Let’s face it, the government has to be seen to be doing something before the press have people believing that sharks will be breaking into their houses during the night and dragging unsuspecting victims back into the ocean for a late night snack.

It’s a laughable concept that if they can parade a dead shark carcass in public, they will have saved the day and we can all rest easy again in Gotham City.

Even if they do catch a shark, can we really be sure that this one ‘man-eater’ is solely responsible, like some kind of twisted serial killer?

What we really need here is some education for the gullible public, who have been fed a diet of Hollywood baloney for far too long.

Sharks are not hovering like gangsters down a dark alley waiting for their chosen target to walk into their ambush.

A turtle from below

A turtle from below

Sharks actually don’t really care too much about humans, in the same way that a hungry lion isn’t waiting outside the local supermarket, waiting for shoppers to get in their cars, despite what the media has been saying. They are just wild creatures who opportunistically eat what comes into their domain that happens to look edible.

If that unfortunately is a human, they might show interest, but usually only because it appears to be something else. When silhouetted against the sunlight above, a human might appear to a shark below to be somewhat like a seal – one of their favourite foods. A paddling surfer looks from below very much like a turtle – another delicacy for sharks.

Sharks are also attracted by creatures that appear to be weakened or dying, particularly if blood is present. In the same way that an antelope separated from the herd appears an easy target, so too does a lone swimmer.

Therefore, if the lone swimmer is also spear fishing and probably causing dying fish to bleed in the water, that’s like shouting ‘free beer’ to a room full of thirsty backpackers.

Our last victim in WA was doing exactly that – spear fishing on his own, at a time when these sharks are following their main prey up the coast, tagging behind the whale migration.

By the way, Great White sharks live in the ocean. It’s their home. If you were to walk across an African wildlife park near a herd of antelope, carrying a string of freshly butchered and bleeding small animals, what are the chances that a lion might think ‘Hello, takeaway food delivery! That’ll do me, thanks!’

Us diving with sharks

Us diving with sharks

Wasn’t it interesting that one interviewee said after the recent attack off Rottnest Island, ‘To think, our children were playing in the surf there right near where that guy was taken’. If the shark was so interested in ‘hunting’ humans, wouldn’t he (assuming it’s just the one rogue monster) have come in earlier?

No – that guy was ‘taken’ 500 metres off shore, diving alone and spear fishing.

Of course I feel sad that this happened and I sympathise genuinely with the family of this man. It’s a horrible thought that he died that way. Isn’t it also just as bad if someone is killed tragically by a drunk driver in a car crash?

It’s called wrong place, wrong time or simply ‘fate’. In the last case, it’s also called ‘bad judgement’.

We, as in human beings, kill 100 million sharks each year. On average they kill 5 or 6 humans in the whole world.

Many of the sharks are killed solely for their fins, because some humans have convinced other gullible humans that shark fins are an aphrodisiac and source of potency. These creatures do feel pain, yet they are butchered mercilessly, and thrown back into the ocean still struggling.

If you saw people doing that to dogs or cats, you would scream for vengeance and justice.

The key point here is that sharks are a vital part of our marine eco-systems. The oceans need sharks for everything to stay in balance. We need fish in the oceans as a food source for our childrens’ children.

One of our friends near East Borneo

One of our friends near East Borneo

Don’t fear sharks, just respect them and learn about them. They deserve our respect – they’ve been here a lot longer than us.

They also breed very slowly and some species are endangered, particular sharks perhaps irreversibly so.

In the same way that you take precautions when driving a car or flying a plane, be sensible in the ocean.

Remember though that more people are killed by defective toasters than by shark attacks. More people are killed by coconuts falling on their heads than by sharks. You are far more likely to be killed in a car crash on the way to the beach or the dive site, than by a shark, while diving or swimming.

Sea Shepherd, the organisation that fought wars against the Japanese whaling fleet to save our whales, has now targeted the plight of our endangered sharks. These are intelligent people who do their research.

I urge you, the reader, before buying into this media hype (designed to make you watch their new bulletins or buy their newspapers, so that you’ll look at their advertising), do your own research.


Tony Inman Cray Diving

Tony Inman Cray Diving

“Ladies and gentlemen – sharks are not the enemy. Fear itself is the enemy.”

Tony Inman

Rescue Diver and admirer of marine life, including sharks.


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About Tony Inman

If you are looking for a coach, mentor or consultant to help you strategise the way you want your life to be and to build your business or develop your career to achieve that vision, then Tony Inman is the man to call.
With over 34 years management experience in numerous companies in Europe and Australia, including many of his own businesses, Tony has coached thousands of staff and hundreds of business owners and executives to set new goals, overcome obstacles or limiting beliefs and create and achieve new dreams.
Today Tony is a published author and presenter on the topics of personal and business growth. He is an incorrigible entrepreneur as well as a business and lifestyle coach, consultant and mentor.

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