Can’t be too complacent with sharks

EDITORIAL: There has been plenty of displeasure aimed at the Chronicle for our reports on the sighting of a large shark off the Scarness beach.

Fans on our Facebook page and our website tend to think reporting on a shark in the ocean is a fairly moot point.

For the sake of public awareness, I don't believe it is.

The one spotted on Tuesday was both large and close to the shore at a spot that is extremely popular with tourists who are unfamiliar with Hervey Bay waters.

The calmness of our beaches and lack of history on sharks in Hervey Bay has led to a sense of safety among non-fishers about our beaches that may not actually exist.

We have corrected claims there hasn't been a shark attack in Hervey Bay waters in the last century.

There has in fact been one that took the life of a 19-year-old man in 1922.

The Chronicle report at the time showed the shark had been seen in the water for weeks before the attack.

Anecdotal reports also suggest there have been people bitten or brushed by sharks in several incidents in Hervey Bay between the 60s to the 90s.

For people who know the waters here, that's no big deal.

But for tourists or people who know nothing about water outside of a visit to the beach in summer, reporting shark sightings leaves the decision to take a risk or not in their hands.



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