Beach Closures Due To Sharks Are Up Over 900 Percent In Victoria!
900 problems and a dolphin ain’t one.
The amount of beach closures due to shark sightings along the Surf Coast has grown to unprecedented numbers in the new year. Since December, Surf Lifesaving Victoria (SLV) has been forced to close beaches over 10 times along the popular stretch of southern coastline. Unparalleled numbers when compared to the single closure that occurred in 2016.
SLV has so far been silent when asked to provide specific details about the closures, but have certainly been quick to act following any shark sightings. So far, beaches in Point Lonsdale, Anglesea, Torquay, Jan Juc and Thirteenth Beach have all been forced to temporarily close their doors when the men in grey suits were spotted. Currently, Fairhaven Beach is on top of the closure leaderboard, having to shut down on five separate occasions, including once when 20 great whites were spotted cruising the lineup on Christmas Day… oh dear.
Many beachgoers aren’t too happy with the SLV’s trigger-happy approach when shooting out beach closures, including Torquay Board Riders Club president Cahill Bell-Warren. Cahill blames the increased attention not on the rising number of sharks themselves, but rather the increased use of shark sighting services by the SLV and timid attention of the media.
“You always know there are sharks in the water, but the general consensus is they’re only being seen because no one’s ever looked so hard,” Cahill told The Geelong Advertiser. “It’s more dangerous to drive to the beach than it is to jump in the water.”
Surf Coast Longboard Club president, Brian Kuit, agrees with Cahill’s sentiments. “Until someone gets attacked, I don’t think you’ll find too much concern from people who are diehard surfers,” Brian said when speaking to The Geelong Advertiser. “They’re always around, maybe they’re just a bit closer this year.”
The most recent incident involving a surfer occurred at Bells Beach last September, when he was knocked off his board by a passing great white, but sustained no injuries. There is no record of a swimmer being killed by a shark in Victorian waters since 1956.
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