Aggression of hooked great white haunts marine filmmaker

Marine documentary-maker Dave Riggs films great white sharks.
Marine documentary-maker Dave Riggs films great white sharks.

‘That animal had been hooked the day before and in the next four days of filming, it attacked everything that went into the water,’ Mr Riggs, a diver for 30 years, said.

Footage from his recently broadcast documentary The Search for the Ocean Super Predator shows the animal repeatedly hitting a 30ft research boat moored off a beach where other great whites were feeding on a whale carcass.

Dunsborough-based Ocean Eco Ventures operator Andrew Edwards, who has seen a great white only once from a boat after 28 years at sea and diving, said drumlines would catch non-threatening sharks, tuna and other large pelagic fish species.

‘I certainly applaud the Government for its actions to quickly reduce risk, but a precautionary approach should be taken to stop bycatch and also to recognise the roles large sharks play in the ecosystem,’ Mr Edwards said.

After opposition to the offshore baiting policy announced on December 9, the Government said $967,161 from its shark mitigation strategy would fund University of WA research into sounds that scare sharks, disguising swimmers and what prompts an attack.

Premier Colin Barnett said WA company Shark Shield would get $300,000 to develop an electronic shark deterrent for surfboard fins.

‘Our strategy recognises that there is no one simple way to ensure the risks to West Australian water-users are minimised, and finding out more about sharks and developing new methods to detect and deter sharks is obviously central to this,’ Mr Barnett said.