great white shark

How to kill a Great White (with a piece of rope!)

Only hypothetically, of course!

Killing a Great White shark isn’t as hard as you think. These peerless, top-of-the-chain tanks are just as vulnerable as the surfers, the swimmers and the scuba divers they’re suddenly bumping into and biting with surprising gusto.

How?

Just make a rope lasso. Let the fish swim through the noose and when the rope passes those iconic, collectable, priceless jaws and just before it reaches the dorsal fin, pull tight.

Four, maybe five minutes, and the White is dead. Hanged. 

“Get ’em on the hook and they go neanderthal,” says a shark fisherman who wisely prefers anonymity and asks that I don’t reveal his home port. “Use a powerhead and if you hit the wrong spot the spot the shark’s going to take off with half its face blown off. Of course, the lasso method ain’t perfect, either. Use the wrong people and they can get dragged over the side.”

The shark fisherman doesn’t just have a theory on the dramatic increase in great whites, in Western Australia at least. He’s positive its due to the AFMA (the Australian Fisheries Management Authority) shutting down vast areas of fishing areas to gill nets because of the by-catch of Australian fur seals and great whites.

What fisheries didn’t know was that skippers were under-calling the number of whites coming up in the nets; the skippers afraid they’d be shut down if fisheries knew just how many whites were destroyed as by-catch. In the end, they were closed, anyway. The irony is, if fisheries knew just how many whites were coming up, perhaps it wouldn’t have been regarded as a threatened and endangered species.

“Think about this,” he says. “Ten years ago, there were nine or 10 boats operating and killing 200-to-300 Pointers a year. We were allowed to have an incidental catch of pointers. They’d get tangled in the nets and come up dead. Now, say, if we work with a conservative kill figure of 200, and 50 of these Whites are mature, and of those 50, 25 are female, they are going to have one baby every two years. So, instead of the population growing like it was, or sustaining at a certain level, it’s blowing out. It’s growing faster and faster. The number of Pointers is increasing dramatically.”

As we speak, he texts me a clip of a five-metre white attacking his boat, taken the day before on his iPhone. “This thing was breaking its teeth off on the boat,” he says.

Just like Amity Island in the movie Jaws, Western Australians and those in the Byron shire have a choice. Leave their beaches to the whites or deal with the problem in a manner that is neither cull nor coddle. The evidence is clear, says the fisherman.

“What they need to do,” he says,  “is to anchor any whites they catch near the beach. The other great whites won’t go near it. When we’re fishing, we don’t throw sharks heads over the side because it scares the fish on the bottom. Think about it. You’re having a party and someone throws a body into it. The party’s over.”

(This story first appeared in Fairfax newspapers online)


tiger shark
This is what a fifteen foot tiger looks like, in case y'wondering.

Shark Fever: Meanwhile near Snapper Rocks!

How about this thick little tiger caught near the world's favourite point… 

There’s a photo doing the rounds of Facebook right now of a tiger shark that was caught off Tweed Heads, just north of Byron Bay and slightly south of Snapper Rocks’ Supa Bank.

According to the Tweed Daily News:

“A HUGE Tiger shark caught off Tweed Heads last month swallowed a six foot Hammerhead shark just before it was pulled aboard, said Tweed Coast fisherman Matthew.

“I was fighting the Hammerhead and he came up and swallowed it,” he said.

shark attack
A fisherman was reeling in a six-foot hammerhead off the Tweed Coast (near Snapper Rocks) last month when this dazzling creature ate it… whole! Including hook!

“You can’t turn around and go no, don’t touch, to something like that.”

The four metre shark was caught about three weeks ago, 14 miles off Tweed Heads, licensed fisherman Matthew said.

Compared to others Tiger sharks he’d seen, Matthew said this specimen was small.

“I’m always on the water; either on it, in it, or under it,” he said.

“I dive with sharks; I love diving with sharks.

“I’ve dived with sharks bigger than that, it’s only a little one.

“I’ve seen Tiger Sharks 24 feet-long off Tweed.”

Having been on the ocean since he was four, Matthew said there were definitely more sharks around now.

“I think the numbers are increasing rapidly, very rapidly,” he said.

The explosion in social media users, Matthew said has made shark sightings more common.

“There’s nothing different to years ago except now when things like this get on social media they just take off,” he said.

“They’ve always been there.”

Matthew said Tiger sharks were every bit as fearsome as Great Whites.

“Metre for metre a Tiger Shark’s bite is bigger than a white,” he said.

“They just have different teeth and a different biting technique.”

Culling sharks was not the answer to preventing attacks, Matthew said, as history showed the animals returned in increased numbers.

“To use the word cull in such a heavily regulated industry is a bit harsh because the word cull is the big divider in public opinion,” he said.

“I think the fisheries need to review their quota system because we’re restricted very heavily on what we are allowed to take each week

“The current system is not going to put the slightest dint in the population of sharks.

“You’ve got to fish for your kids future, not your future.”

The whole Tiger Shark was sent to the fish markets, except the jaws, which Matthew kept as a souvenir.

Want more? Click here. 

And, meanwhile, back down the coast at Broken Head…

 


Homeless in Hawaii
Yeah, you can sleep on the beach, in certain areas. But it ain't some fun outdoorsy solo trip. You've got neighbors, lots of them. There's the angry meth addict with two vicious pit bulls tied up outside his shanty, there's the off his meds schizo who fell through the cracks creeping in the bushes, there's the strung out single mom with five kids living out of their ramshackle mini van. And forget about living on Oahu's North Shore, you're headed for Waianae. If you think the corpo surf world is cool with you pitching a tent and roasting weenies in front of their beach rental you've got another thing coming.

How to: fail at Hawaii!

The seven dumb mistakes people make when they cut off a slice of paradise… 

Moving to Hawaii, and making things work in the long term, comes down to your first six months.  Man, are those babies a doozy! Broke as shit, not knowing anyone, struggling to find work, a place to live, banging your head against the pervasive nepotism present in a place that puts a premium on interpersonal relationships.

It’s hard as hell and most people give up.  My mother gave up after three days.

Which makes it even more difficult for the people who stick it out. Employers don’t want someone who may bounce in two months, and you’ll be kept at an arms length by your new friends. No reason to get close when you’ll probably bail back home at the first sign of hardship.

I’ve seen so many people come and go over the last seven years, and they all make the same mistakes.

Have a problem with being broke

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how good your skill set is, wages are lower than the mainland and the cost of living is way higher. Your quality of life is going to take a major hit, if you measure it in financial assets.

Learn to find joy in the free things. Hike, surf, dive, head down to Ehukai and bask in the glorious under-aged ass cavorting in the shorebreak.

Offer unsolicited opinions

No one wants to hear how you feel about the Hawaiian sovereignty movement or about how tourism supports the state (for the record, menial jobs that don’t pay a living wage don’t count for shit), or about how hard it is being a white man in Hawaii or that the anti telescope/anti GMO/anti whatever activists are idiots.

Unless you’re enlisted and live on base. Those are really the only things those people talk about.

Smoke meth

It’s un-fucking-real how many people move to Hawaii and start smoking meth. It doesn’t even make sense. A tropical wonderland that lives life at a crawl calls for downers, not uppers.

Think that living outdoors is an option

Yeah, you can sleep on the beach, in certain areas. But it ain’t some fun outdoorsy solo trip. You’ve got neighbors, lots of them. There’s the angry meth addict with two vicious pit bulls tied up outside his shanty. There’s the off-his-meds schizo who fell through the cracks creeping in the bushes. There’s the strung-out single mom with five kids living out of their ramshackle mini van. And forget about living on Oahu’s North Shore, you’re headed for Waianae. If you think the corpo surf world is cool with you pitching a tent and roasting weenies in front of their beach rental you’ve got another think coming.

Pick up a pidgin accent

If you live here long enough you can’t help but adopt some words. No matter how hard I try, I find myself saying “shoots” and “manini” and “no need.”

But there’s a certain type of haole that tries to fit in by employing an ersatz accent. “Ho, brah, we go holo holo” sounds fucking retarded when you have a nasal Cali twang.

Steal fruit

Seriously, never pick fruit without asking permission. You’ll get your ass kicked and the cops won’t do shit, because you had it coming.

Be a hippy

I’ve noticed this is more of a thing on Kauai. Little dorks running up credit card debt while pretending to chase enlightenment. No one, and I mean no one, likes hippies. They’re filthy dirty and they stink. Which is totally unacceptable in a place with the ocean, plenty of public showers, and a million streams to rinse your foul body in.


Unexpected: The best wave in the world is…

You won't believe your eyes! (unless you are G-Mac) (or Anderson Cooper)

The Daily Mail, a United Kingdom tabloid with center-right stance and a circulation just under 2 mil, is also, apparently, an authority on surfing. And so it was to much fanfare that they released their infographic revealing the world’s best places to surf. “The Surfer’s Bucket List” they called in. Breaks around the world held anthropomorphic breaths in hopes of maybe being number one………………..and the winner was……………..

Nazare!

Apparently “best” means “biggest” and “biggest” means “?” I don’t think the editors took in to consideration the face of the wave measurement vs. Hawaii’s back of the wave measurement but who cares…that’s just weird science.

Nazare was followed by Mavericks followed by Cornwall followed by Cloudbreak followed by Pipeline and Uluwatu in a tie. Tofino, Vancouver and Montanita, Ecuador also made the list.

Other surprises included the fact that Bondi, Australia is actually on the Gold Coast, Black’s Beach near San Diego has fierce locals, experienced surfers can surf Pipeline in Hawaii but “should also try Backdoor whilst on the island” and anyone who surfs Mavericks automatically “achieves legend status.” Congrats Taylor Paul!

And better luck next year Loser Trestles.

2B2CDD2E00000578-0-image-a-35_1438953986511

Just in: 95% of Byron surfers say yes to shark cull!

Businesses closing, deserted beaches, no one surfing… 

Whatever you think of the ethics of fishing for dangerous sharks, you can’t argue that shark attacks are good for business. Oowee, Ballina, just down the coast there from Byron Bay, is suddenly a ghost town.

In February, surfer Tadashi Nakahara was killed by a white. A month ago a bodyboarder was hit by a white and is still in hospital. Last week, a little further down the coast, a surfer fought off a white. This afternoon, a shark knocked a surfer off his board.

The Ballina council has been dropping 16k every weekend for a chopper to patrol the beaches. What doth it see? Seven great whites, some ten feet long, some closer to twenty, plying the near coastal waters.

Close Ballina’s fabulous beaches ’cause there’s sharks and what else have you got? You want tourists to come play in their cavernous mall? Stroll the aisles of a regional K-Mart?

“I’ve been in Ballina or Byron Bay all my life and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ballina shire mayor David Wright said at a community meeting held on Monday night. “People who have surfed every morning for 40 years are not going in. People are pulling out of holidays from caravan parks and other accommodation. If you’ve seen the Mick Fanning footage, that’s happened 10 or 11 times in this area this year.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald,

“Surfers on the NSW north coast have overwhelmingly voted for a partial cull of sharks following an unprecedented number of attacks and sightings along the world-famous coastline. The extraordinary development came during a heated community meeting on Monday night, in which residents were told some businesses were about to fold because visitors were too scared to come to the area for beach holidays. Le-Ba Boardriders Club president Don Munro, who organised the meeting for boardriders from Byron, Ballina and Evans Head shires, said about 95 per cent of the 200 people present voted in support of  ‘controlled management or culling.

“It would involve killing sharks that have caused repeated problems, such as the seven regular great whites spotted in aerial patrols.

“Surfers are more environmentally aware than most, we live in the water, we have an appreciation that we’re in their domain but … now it’s just gone crazy and no one really knows why,” he said. “The thing is, what price do we put on a life?”

Read the full story here.