As a semi-retired shark fisherman and shark hunter of nearly 5 decades, by the way there IS a difference: shark fishermen catch sharks to make a living while shark hunters kill them out of passion or sport. I’ve enjoyed both with no regrets! However, the past decade I’ve become increasingly concerned over a species almost as deadly as the apex marine predators I’ve hunted. They are land sharks and they come in 3 distinct groups, none of which is concerned with human safety:
The first group consists of politicians and government agencies protecting a trillion dollar tourist industry (their cash cow). Second are the rent-a-scientists who support (and who are financially supported by) this regulatory regime (fishing regulations.) Third are the environmental extremists who prop up the first two groups by creating an exaggerated crisis concerning “ocean harmony” with impending shark extinction. These environmental groups identify themselves with catchy titles like, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, The Shark Specialist Group, Shark Safe and my favorites: Earth Justice and Oceanic Dreams.
These tinkerbells, or pansies –excuse me– I mean concerned hippies of today should not be confused with legitimate conservationists who have a realistic understanding of the world’s ecosystems. The aforementioned fanatics I dare say have never viewed a corpse laying on a slab at the morgue after a deadly shark attack nor witnessed the surgery of a shark attack victim clinging to life on an operating table. No, they minimize this HUMAN death as the price one must pay for conservation efforts. (Even George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack file said ‘he attributes the high number of (shark) bites to…stricter fishery management regulations that have increased the shark population.’ WESH 2 News, 9-15-2008). I compare these idiots to those who would relinquish the backyard BBQ to mounds of fire ants and bacteria carrying mosquitos rather than address the real problem. I’ve been amazed how these people can be driven to hysteria at the sight of a dead pregnant shark as a sort of animal cruelty yet be indifferent to human child abuse or abortion. Both issues of which should be more deserving of one’s attention and passion. These “environmentalists” have always had the view of Man as the overpopulated cancer against nature.
All 3 of these land shark predators have agendas motivated by greed and the instinct for self preservation which is why they ignore the undisputable facts concerning the danger from sharks while they pursue their predator preservation propaganda. These land sharks claim the marine predators are misunderstood. They use words like ‘beautiful’ and ‘graceful’ or ‘majestic’ to describe these ‘awesome creatures.’ They claim shark attacks are the case of mistaken identity and the chance of an encounter is less than being struck by lightning. On April 25, 2008, retired vetenarian Dave Martin, 66, was killed by a shark along the coast of Solana Beach in Southern California. One of those land shark scientists was quoted as saying, “the attacking white shark probably mistook Martin for a seal.” (Does that make him nay less dead?) The shark must have liked the taste of the man-seal as witnesses say Martin was attacked repeatedly! So much for ‘mistaken identity.’ Horseshit like this really pisses me off. I could recount many more attacks similar in nature but I’ll site only one more, also off the coast of California: the savage attack against Albert Kogler, 18, on May 7, 1959 – this too was considered mistaken identity but the experts forgot that Albert’s girlfriend Shirley O’Neill and Army Sergeant Leo P. Day had to pull the victim to shore while the shark repeatedly attacked him. Maybe that shark needed glasses.
Back to September of 2008 when George Burgess made his statement about the increase in shark attacks; this land shark neglects to admit that he, since 1992, has had a hand implementing those same regulations! After his 2008 statement, he attempted to recant it by doctoring his statistics to confuse the public as to which attacks are ‘unprovoked’ or ‘provoked.’ He is also linked to the government financed gravy train and implies that because less attacks are fatal this somehow minimizes sharks’ danger to humans. Fact is, more victims have survived savage attacks because of major advancements in medical treatments and doctors trained in the treatments of shark bites! Even victims have been educated to better defend themselves from the attacker. (One more step to minimize attacks is to simply put the truth out there so unsuspecting tourists don’t jump into the water when schools of sharks are sighted off the beaches!)
A compelling example of an attack that years ago would have been fatal is that of 13 year old Bethany Hamilton. This brave young surfer was savagely attacked by a 12 foot tiger shark off the north shore of Hawaii in October of 2003. She recounts that fateful day in her autobiography Soul Surfer. Her devastating attack nearly cost her life but for the bravery of those with her and the medical technology available she only lost her arm and not her spirit. The attacking shark was subsequently caught and killed by fishermen and the beast is pictured in her book. Read it! You might gain a better understanding of shark trauma.
Another group of land sharks made headlines lately, with a pathetic twist; the environmental group, PEW (don’t know what that stands for) organized nine shark attack survivors to lobby Capitol Hill in support of stronger restrictions on shark fishing! Of course, they claimed impending shark extinction. This odd gathering stated, “we’ll finally be heard.” Claimed one victim, “we forgive the sharks and we’ve bonded with them.” Huh? All of them spoke of having invaded the sharks’ domain, and after all, they were only hungry! (God help us.) Well, they got their moment of fame, isn’t that simply human nature? I should add that this gathering was paid for by the so-called, non-profit group, PEW. Several of the attack victims that PEW sponsored had been featured on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” Even morbid fame has its perks!
So, nine victims were talked into this charade, what about the thousands of other victims that refused to participate? Or, what about the ones who died a victim? Like 14 year old Jamie Daigle, who, in June of 2005 was visiting Florida from Louisiana. She was nearly ripped in half by a bull shark off the Florida Panhandle. “Experts’ claimed she and a friend were swimming “out too far” past the sandbar. As the ‘great senator’ from Massachusetts, John Kerry introduces another idiotic shark protection bill to the floor, Jamie Daigle, like so many other shark attack victims, will never be heard. They’re DEAD.
Screw this type of mentality, let’s get serious folks. It’s time to wake up before the pundits at Mote Marine Laboratory (more land sharks) succeed in re-educating, or brainwashing your children into believing sharks are sweet, cuddly bambis of the sea. Oh, by the way, here’s an interesting story about Mote when they were pushing protection of man from sharks in the 1970’s:
When Mote was located on Siesta Key and under the direction of Dr. Perry W. Gilbert (now deceased), the Office of Naval Research gave them a contract to study whether a bottlenosed dolphin could act as a body guard for navy divers, for their protection from dangerous sharks (wow, this would never happen today!) Back then, the scientists understood the dangers of sharks to Man. In 1958, they’d even formed a group called The Shark Research Panel, also at the request of the US Navy. Two of the men on this panel I have held much respect for: Dr. David H. Baldridge, who’d had a distinguished Navy career working on shark attack deterrents, and Dr. Stewart Springer of the US Fisheries Service, both very straight men who, at times, found it hard to wade through the fruits and nuts at Mote Marine Laboratory. Both men understood the importance of analyzing what could be done to effectively protect the public from deadly shark encounters. Unfortunately the Florida Fish and Game Commission found that Dr. Springer’s 25 years of research did not conform to their ‘overfishing’ propaganda and therefore was essentially ignored.
With Mote’s Shark Porpoise Program, as Dr. Gilbert titled it, the plan was to starve a bottlenose dolphin into headbutting dead sharks and gradually introducing them to small, live sharks until they could force a larger predator to flee into an adjacent shark channel. This heavily funded research lasted about 2 years. Remember the greed I mentioned earlier? The plug was finally pulled by the Navy when they realized the dolphin could determine the difference between dangerous bull sharks (which eat dolphin) and the less aggressive sandbar sharks that had been used in the study, something the ‘scientists’ could not do. Seems the mammal was smarter than the land sharks!
I’ve often thought of what the hysterical environmentalists would think today if such an experiment was attempted. I mean, offering Flipper as a meal to predator sharks! I bet that would cause more rage than Miss California’s opposition to same sex marriage!
In conclusion, I believe the General Public must step forward and voice their feelings about shark protection before it’s too late. Indifference by the public against more government regulations protecting this heavily populated apex predator will ultimately result in an increase in future shark attacks in Florida and worldwide. It’s already happening in Australia. Think about it: someday you could find yourself adrift and waiting for the Coast Guard Rescue and Bambi of the Sea is circling below you. Will you survive?
For footage of sharks close to the beach: http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/news/local/Great_White_Shark_Sighting_in_Malibu_20090723