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“Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water.”

For the first time in 59 years, Sydney witnessed a fatal shark attack. A 4.5 metre great white shark looming in the depths at Little Bay mauled 35-year-old Simon Nellist, a diving instructor, to death on the afternoon of the 1

6th of February. By about 4:30pm on the same afternoon, only the semblance of human remains could be recovered.

“I heard a scream and the thing landed and the shark was just chomping on his body…”

Eyewitnesses were left shocked after the confronting incident. Within minutes, videos of the man crying for help and struggling in the water ‘stained with his blood’ were shared across social media platforms. Soon, the grisly content made international headlines, with more viewers searching for raw, unedited footage. This has sparked debate about the morality of viewing and sharing such content.

Perhaps there should be more conversation surrounding the influx of sharks in Sydney waters. According to local fisherman Mr McGlashan, following the incident, Sydney has seen a “ridiculous” shark boom. Specifically, he names, increases in bronze whalers, hammerhead sharks, as well as bull sharks.

Yet, despite the incident raising public concerns on shark attacks, Nellist had previously commented against shark nets and drumlines on Facebook due to their destructive impacts on marine life. Accordingly, every year, thousands of marine life including turtles, dugongs, dolphins, whales, rays and critically endangered grey nurse sharks end up entangled in shark nets and drumlines, with many dying if not rescued. In the long term, this would negatively shift marine ecosystems, which imply far more destructive effects compared to an average of 20 shark attacks a year in Australia.

This leads us to ask, should better measures be implemented to protect swimmers and divers?


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