Marine ecologist: We don’t belong in the ocean
UPDATE: A BALLINA-based shark researcher says there has not been a spike in shark attacks, and that humans should deal with the fact they don't belong in the ocean.
Marine ecologist Jann Gilbert said sharks were around at this time of the year because "everything is alive in the water at the moment".
"The juvenile great whites are up and down the coast, there are lots of fish and phytoplankton and the gannets are here," she said.
"There has not been a spike in shark attacks, and these are not attacks, they're encounters.
"Sharks don't eat humans; they spit us out.
"The Mick Fanning incident was a classic example - it (the shark) was as freaked out as Mick was.
"There are various views on why some sharks do bite humans, but more research does need to be done.
"A few sharks make mistakes on what they are predating.
"They're very cryptic animals.
"We need to start having a very different conversation about this situation.
"Yes, it's very sad when people are bitten, but the fact is we don't belong in the ocean.
"We just need to learn to take the risk or stay out.
"Sharks are incredible animals that have been around for 400 million years."
INITIAL REPORT: A FRIEND of Tadashi Nakahara, who died after being attacked by a shark at Ballina earlier this year, has said it is "time to find out what is going on" with the "freakish" number of shark attacks in the region.
Angie Takanami posted a heartfelt note on the new Ballina Shark Reports Facebook page after Ballina beaches were closed yesterday because of a shark sighting.
"We are all animals, the sharks, humans, and we need to co-exist because the oceans can't survive without the sharks," she wrote.
"But I can tell you firsthand as a surfer I am scared shitless at the moment after I watched a friend bleed to death at my feet this year after being bitten in the surf, just moments before I was about to paddle out.
"Death is tragic no matter what the circumstance, and our current reality is there is an increasing number of shark attacks in our backyard and no one knows enough about great whites to really understand why.
"I know I don't want to give up surfing here, so I'm all for there being an increased level of funding pushed out for researchers to try and get a proper evaluation of what the f*** is going on.
"We take a risk every time we wake up as humans, because life is fatal.
"This is not just a matter of greater surveillance therefore greater sightings, this is a matter of a freakish number of attacks in a really short period of time, and a community having lost one friend and almost another.
"Surfers are not harming the sharks, but maybe humans as a greater species are.
"Time to find out what is really going on with our oceans and the planet because it's quite obvious Mother Nature is sending us some warnings."