•   
  •   

Australia Three fatal shark attacks in three years won't stop Esperance residents moving forward

03:15  25 september  2021
03:15  25 september  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

Moussa Konaté loaned to the hope of Tunis (Official)

 Moussa Konaté loaned to the hope of Tunis (Official) Esperance of Tunis formalized the arrival of Moussa Konaté (Dijon), loaned for one year with option to buy. © Provided by Football 365 Football: Dijon vs Paris SG - Ligue 1 Uber Eats - 27/02/2021 Announced since the beginning of the week, The arrival of Moussa Konaté at Espérance Sportive de Tunis has been formalized Wednesday, a few hours before the closing of Mercato in Tunisia.

a person standing next to a body of water: Karen Milligan returns to the water one year after her husband's death.  (ABC News: Emily Smith) © Provided by ABC NEWS Karen Milligan returns to the water one year after her husband's death.  (ABC News: Emily Smith)

Karen Milligan could have easily turned her back on the ocean, but earlier this year she made the extraordinary decision to don her dive gear once again.  

It marked a brave return to the place where Gary Johnson, her husband and dive buddy, was killed on January 5, 2020. 

On the anniversary of his death, she was determined to celebrate their shared love of the ocean by placing a memorial — a dive tank filled with messages from family and friends — on the sea floor. 

How common are alligator attacks?

  How common are alligator attacks? When Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast state of Louisiana two weeks ago, floodwaters from the storm brought another danger to residents: wildlife. A 12-foot-long alligator believed to have attacked a man in St. Tammany Parish was captured and killed on Monday and authorities found human remains in its stomach. LOUISIANA: HUMAN REMAINS FOUND INSIDE ALLIGATOR SUSPECTED OF KILLING MAN IN IDA FLOODWATERS The parish coroner’s office and investigators were working to determine if the remains were those of Timothy Satterlee, 71, who has been missing since the Aug. 30 attack, according to the St.

I thought it was a whale tail

Ms Milligan spent 15 years exploring the ocean around Esperance with Mr Johnson; the president of the Esperance Dive Club who she described as a "six-foot-four water baby" who was passionate about protecting the ocean.

"He was the kindest, gentlest, most caring person I have met," she said.

Despite all that time underwater, they never saw a white shark until January 5, 2020.

Ms Milligan remembered spotting an enormous tail ahead of her and, for one cruel moment, thinking she was in for a wonderful experience.

"I thought it was a whale tail," she said.

"I was looking at this like a David Attenborough moment — it took about two nanoseconds to realise that it wasn't."

It was a white shark — one which experts later estimated to be up to 6 metres long — and it was attacking her husband.

Drones for NSW as govt boosts shark budget

  Drones for NSW as govt boosts shark budget NSW beaches will have more shark drones and listening stations in a boost to what the government says is the world's largest shark management program.Deputy Premier John Barilaro says the $21.4 program will expand its use of drumlines, listening stations and the world's largest fleet of domestic drones.

"I tried to hit the shark first of all on the tail. Then I decided to swim along to its nose and hit it on the nose," Ms Milligan said.

"But in this surreal moment, as I was swimming halfway along the shark, it just disappeared.

"Never once when I was approaching the shark underwater, trying to hit it, did I have any personal fear.

"Mainly because I think we had this understanding of what sharks are doing in that instance and I held onto that belief — the shark was just doing what sharks do."

Despite her grief, the belief that it was a "very natural" event helped Ms Milligan make sense of the tragedy.

But Mr Johnson's death sent shockwaves throughout the town, particularly because, by the end of 2020, three people had been killed by sharks in three years off the Esperance coast.

The other attacks both happened at Kelp Beds, a surf break a short beach-drive away from town.

It's our life

Mitch Capelli is an Esperance-born-and-raised surfer who lives and breathes the ocean, but in recent years has become increasingly rattled by the way sharks are changing his community.

The sharks facing extinction in Australia

  The sharks facing extinction in Australia The new data comes from the first complete assessment of extinction risk, showing Australia is home to more than a quarter of the world's shark species, 12 per cent of which are at risk. 'While Australia's risk is considerably lower than the global level of 37 per cent, it does raise concern for the 39 Australian species assessed as having an elevated risk of extinction,' the study's lead author Peter Kyne says.

"I've been in the water for close to 20 years and I personally haven't seen anywhere near as many sharks as I have in the last five years in particular," he said.

In the wake of teenage surfer Laeticia Brouwer's death in 2017, he set up the Esperance Ocean Safety and Support Group.

It aimed to come up with practical solutions to protect people from sharks, such as distributing trauma kits to ensure people had tourniquets after an attack.

Mr Capelli believes this offers a better approach than "staying out of the water" or "getting another hobby", advice that he did not believe offered a permanent solution.

"Not when it's everything you know, everything that your life revolves around.

"The ocean is bigger than that to us. It's our life."

But following the tragedies some lifelong surfers avoided the water near Esperance.

Mr Capelli said this had left many frustrated, unsure of what to do with themselves and struggling with their mental health.

He feared there would also be negative repercussions for the tourism industry which in turn would hurt the local economy and its future prospects. 

WA shire's ex-CEO Gavin Pollock offered to pay back alleged sex worker spending, says shire president

  WA shire's ex-CEO Gavin Pollock offered to pay back alleged sex worker spending, says shire president Cash-strapped country council desperate to recover $55,000 its former chief executive allegedly paid Ms E for sexual services, says the "devastated" shire president.A Corruption and Crime Commission report released yesterday accuses Gavin Pollock, who was sacked by the Shire of Ravensthorpe last week, of creating fake invoices to use council money to pay for a sex worker dating back to March last year.

"I already avoid Esperance at certain times of the year just because of what we're seeing," he said.

"A lot of hard-core surfers that I thought would never get out of the water aren't surfing [here] and it's really sad to see."

While some surfers have returned to the water in the year since the last attack, others have not. 

Esperance resident Pete McMahon had been surfing for 50 years, 30 of them at Kelp Beds.

But he was on the beach on October 9, 2020 when local man Andrew Sharpe was attacked and killed by a white shark.

Mr McMahon has not paddled out from an Esperance beach since. 

"I guess people used to say, 'You got more chance of being run over by a car', but I don't know anyone who's been run over by a car," he said.

Towards the end of last year a rally was organised at Esperance's West Beach calling for more government action in response to sharks.

But shark policy is a political powder keg in Western Australia.

Sharks policy highly divisive 

Protests erupted from Perth to Sydney when the former Liberal government sanctioned the killing of large tiger, bull and white sharks in 2014.

When Mark McGowan became Premier in 2017, he championed non-lethal shark management options.

His government has provided rebates on shark deterrent devices, trialled the use of non-lethal drumlines and set up warning systems.

Shark bites 'statistically more likely' as swimmer protection lags, expert says

  Shark bites 'statistically more likely' as swimmer protection lags, expert says As NSW pumps $21.4 million into new technology to bolster its shark-control program, Queensland stands by its 1960s approach — a move experts say will lead to more attacks.It comes as New South Wales pumps millions of dollars into pilot programs to reduce the incidence of shark encounters with humans.

Following the Esperance shark attacks, one of the key measures the government highlighted was its shark tagging program.

In the past four years, Esperance has proven one of the best places in the state for tagging white sharks, with 41 tagged off its coast, more than half of the 75 statewide total.

Peter Godfrey, statewide operations manager for WA Fisheries, said this was because the region's annual seal pupping season attracted sharks and made them easier to catch and tag. 

But Mr Capelli said he believed in terms of shark attack prevention, many of these measures amounted to "more of a band-aid than an actual solution".

He pointed to policies the Ocean Safety and Support Group wanted to see adopted; the first being the use of non-lethal drumlines to catch, tag and relocate sharks near popular beaches.

This had some precedent, he said, given WA Fisheries dropped a drumline and relocated a 5.3-metre shark sighted at Cottesloe Beach near Perth last December.

But Mr Godfrey said Fisheries did not have the resources to commit to this as an attack-prevention strategy.

The Ocean Safety and Support Group also believed that after a shark attack, a non-lethal drumline should be rolled out to try and catch the animal involved.

Mr Capelli said if a shark closely fitting the description was caught, then it should be "humanely euthanased, according to Fisheries protocol".

Mr Capelli said his group believed euthanasing sharks that attack would help protect people, reduce the danger to first responders and recovery divers, help recover coronial evidence and provide an opportunity for scientific research.

Camels hit and killed in truck crash on Eyre Highway on Nullarbor Plain

  Camels hit and killed in truck crash on Eyre Highway on Nullarbor Plain The main road connecting SA with WA has been closed after a road train jack-knifed when it hit two camels, while several dozen Adelaide homes are without power after a truck knocked down a power pole.Police said the Eyre Highway had been shut in both directions after the collision, west of the Nullarbor Roadhouse, in SA's far west.

But he stressed it should not be interpreted as a call for a shark cull.

"That's all we're about, that balanced approach, offering solution-based mitigation."

Group launches own research effort

In the long term, many believe the best way to prevent shark attacks will be to learn more about them.

In 2019, the Ocean Safety and Support Group launched a research project to learn more about sharks in the area.

David Swan, a local veterinarian and the group's spokesperson, acknowledged that social media now meant people were more aware of shark sightings, which could amplify their concerns.

But after speaking with abalone divers, commercial divers and those who had spent a lifetime in the ocean, he believed more sharks were being sighted in the region.

"Although, again, the researchers say, 'We don't have evidence of that', but we know that they are," he said.

Mr Godfrey also said it was hoped the government's tagging data would be used to study shark movements and behaviour. 

'We can't guarantee 100pc safety'

On the anniversary of Mr Johnson's death, after completing her scuba dive and meeting with friends and family at a local brewery, Ms Milligan had one more piece of business to attend to: launching the Gary Johnson Foundation.

She hoped the local organisation would preserve his legacy in striving to protect the ocean and its biodiversity at a community level.

She said its first priority was to see a marine park established in the waters of the Recherche Archipelago off Esperance, a plan the WA government also has its sights on and which was Mr Johnson's "great dream".

But it also takes a view on sharks, with a discussion paper on the foundation's website warning against short-term, unscientific strategies.

"Any lethal approach to shark mitigation would be completely unacceptable. It's known not to work," Ms Milligan said.

Victorian woman who allegedly breached quarantine in WA remanded in custody

  Victorian woman who allegedly breached quarantine in WA remanded in custody A woman who recently travelled to WA from Victoria has been remanded in custody, after she was arrested at Kalgoorlie train station for allegedly breaching quarantine.Bobbie-Lee Coombs, who returned to WA from Victoria earlier this week, has faced the Kalgoorlie Magistrate's Court charged with three counts of failing to comply with a direction under the Emergency Management Act.

While she and her daughter, Hannah, acknowledged the fear and trauma felt across the community, they believed it was important to keep it in perspective.

"I think it is an inherently traumatic event for everyone in this community when someone dies in the ocean. Everyone in Esperance has a really profound relationship with the ocean," Hannah Milligan said.

"I think for some people in the community it's created a real fear and a real sadness as a consequence — I think because it's fundamentally changed their relationship with the ocean.

"But the thing I hope to see at the forefront of any strategy that's adopted is an evidence-based approach, and that means trialling some new strategies that we haven't seen before but also avoiding revisiting strategies that are dated and we know don't work; for example, shark culling."

Even though opinions about how to manage sharks differed, Ms Milligan was hopeful the community would come together on the issue.

"When you're talking to people, be they commercial fishers, rec fishers, surfers, divers, swimmers — they all want the same thing. They would like human interaction with the ocean to be safe," she said.

"But we can't guarantee 100 per cent safety and I think people have to understand that too.

"And we wouldn't really want 100 per cent safety, I don't think. Part of the glamour of the ocean is that it throws up something different every time you get in it.

"So I think there's a lot of common territory. They want the same thing. It's just how to achieve the same thing."


Gallery: How sea otters can help fight climate change (StarsInsider)

a small animal in a body of water: Over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, sea otters were hunted to near extinction. Since then, conservation efforts have helped them make a strong comeback, and it's a good thing, too. Aside from being outrageously cute, these seaborne weasels play an important role in supporting the ecosystems that we can use to help fight climate change.Intrigued? Then check out this gallery to find out how sea otters can help our world.

Victorian woman who allegedly breached quarantine in WA remanded in custody .
A woman who recently travelled to WA from Victoria has been remanded in custody, after she was arrested at Kalgoorlie train station for allegedly breaching quarantine.Bobbie-Lee Coombs, who returned to WA from Victoria earlier this week, has faced the Kalgoorlie Magistrate's Court charged with three counts of failing to comply with a direction under the Emergency Management Act.

usr: 1
This is interesting!