Shark cull opponents want shark-attack first aid kits to be installed at WA beaches

Shark cull opponents want shark-attack first aid kits to be installed at WA beaches

SHARK culling opponent Sea Shepherd wants shark medical packs with tourniquets to treat shark attacks at surf breaks after Mandurah surfer Ben Gerring (29) lost a leg to a shark at Falcon, south of Mandurah this week.

“That is going to save lives, because every second is precious,” Sea Shepherd managing director Jeff Hansen said.

It was reported a surfer ran to get a roof rack strap to tourniquet Mr Gerring’s leg after he was brought ashore.

Mr Hansen said surfers in isolated areas should also be designated to send out shark warnings to their mates by text, and there should be greater education about events that attract sharks, including Australian salmon schools reported near Falcon during the species’ annual migration that has boomed since halting the commercial netting of the fish.

“Last year 1209 people died on Australian roads, and on average 5 to 10 people die from shark attacks worldwide, so it is clear given the number of people who enter the sea we are not on the menu, we’re just something that gets in the way of sharks,” Mr Hansen said.

He said he was sceptical a 4.2m great white shark caught by Fisheries at Falcon days three days ago was the same animal in the attack because a 3m shark seen earlier was the size of great whites which are thought to conduct exploratory bites when their diets move from fish to sea-mammals.

Surf Lifesaving WA spokesman Chris Peck said medical packs were a good idea that had been discussed after a shark attack at Gracetown, but issues of access, security of the packs contents and vandalism had to be solved.

“We would encourage surfers to have kits in their cars, in their board bags, and to get medical and first aid training,” Mr Peck said.

He said a culture of personal safety should include surfers’ own social media and mobile phone information networks about shark threats, checking the State Government SharkSmart website and being familiar annual events like the salmon run that attract sharks.

Asked if the 4.2m shark had been identified, by bite marks or DNA, as that which attacked Mr Gerring, a Fisheries spokeswoman said staff remain focused on operational matters and answers could be obtained later.

This morning, Falcon beaches were reopened with cautions to take extra safety when large schools of fish are present.

Warnings are at www.sharksmart.com.au/shark-activity or twitter.com/SLSWA.