HAPPY DAYS: A welcome visitor to the bay in contrast to the menacing presences in the water lately
HAPPY DAYS: A welcome visitor to the bay in contrast to the menacing presences in the water lately slideaholics.com

OPINION: Culling sharks not the answer

SO THE subject of culling sharks raises its head again. What's the plan? We can't kill all of them.

I can't help but wonder if this is about the very human need to feel in control, more than anything else.

Well, guess what? Where the ocean is concerned, we're not in control.

Not you, not me, not anyone.

Sure, we can make reasonably educated decisions based on our understanding of it but when we start believing we're in a position of control in the ocean that is the moment when we've lost respect and our sense of perspective for that extremely powerful and unforgiving environment, and that's when things go wrong.

The ocean is vastly more powerful than any of us.

We can't hold back the tides, we can't stop erosion or turn off storms and we can't kill off all the sharks in a given region.

The only thing culling would do is give a false sense of security to those people who don't wish to be honest with themselves about the reality of the environment we choose of our own free will to enter.

With culling comes the risk people could become complacent, and that's even more dangerous.

A little bit of commonsense wouldn't go astray here. The majority of these sharks will most likely move on when their food source moves on.

Patience is what's really required. If the number of sharks disturbs or frightens you, then do something else for a while.

Also, it wouldn't kill us to look at the magnetic imitation kelp-style barriers being trialled in South Africa, if we're all so worried. But culling as a solution is unlikely to help.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no shark-cuddler. If it was natural for sharks to simply no longer exist, I really wouldn't mind.

I've had many close encounters, and the damn things freak me out when it's a close call.

We all know sharks are unpredictable at best, but the sea is their house, not ours.

I choose to put myself in their environment, they don't come into mine. I choose the risks I take, which means I also choose when not to take risks.

Right now, while activity is high, I don't surf nearly as often as I normally would.

I choose to wait, because if 40-plus years in the water has taught me anything, it's this: Things are always changing out there, this disturbing chapter of high shark activity in our region should pass.

Stay safe, have fun, wait your turn, and surf today like you want to surf again tomorrow.


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