Death in the Afternoon: “Vindictive” South African sharks featuring mercury and arsenic levels “significantly higher than allowable limits” poisoning Australians!

Biting back from beyond the grave.

The very last thing Australia needs right now is another problem. The island nation, burning under a relentless summer sun, has had no peace for months. The sky is blackened. The earth is blackened. And the only small pleasure usually easy-going Australians can find is enjoying a piece of either battered or blackened fish with a generous side portion of chips.

And beer.

Well, leave it to the shark, the vicious, vindictive apex predator, to be a man-killer from beyond the grave. To kick Australians when they’re down. To rudely poison generations and generations of future leaders by infusing the Lucky Country’s national dish with hatred and death and it’s true. South African sharks are killing Australians as it has just been revealed they contain mercury and arsenic levels “significantly higher than allowable limits” but we must learn more. We must keep all our facts straight.

But let’s start at the other end. Until recently, the fish you ate with your chips in Australia was predominantly snapper, the country’s favourite recreational and commercial fish. This was massively over-fished and last year the government banned catches in a number of key waters until 2023 (angering many fishermen), and imposed stiff fines for transgressions.

Maybe sharks could fill the gap? However, in 1991 the Australian smooth hound shark industry had collapsed and they were being imported from New Zealand. Then that fishery became oversubscribed and the demand shifted to South Africa, an area which they must have known had poor shark management, or legal compliance. They’d found the perfect supplier.

That was good news for local shark fishers. According to Dr Enrico Gennari of the Oceans Research Institute, the smooth hound catch numbers were 17,558 sharks in 2016, 18,298 in 2017 and 30,112 in 2018 (the 2018 numbers convert to about 210 tonnes). “Fishing at current mortality rates, a decline in harvestable stock is certain,” he said. “I’m quite sure right now this species would be in the endangered category.”

But there’s a further problem the Australians may not know about and will be unhappy to discover. South African waters are far from pristine, with toxic runoff from factories and farms entering coastal waters. Local sharks are apex predators and, as bioaccumulators, they retain heavy metals like mercury and arsenic (eat a Mako shark steak at your peril).

They take in high levels of these human-produced chemicals and heavy metals from both skin absorption and from consuming their prey. These dangerous chemicals and metals add up over time and quickly reach levels dangerous to humans. They can cause various neurological diseases such as dementia.

According to a South African research report on shark meat, mercury readily vaporises and may stay in the atmosphere for up to a year. It ultimately accumulates in lake and sea sediments where it’s transformed into toxic methyl mercury, accumulating in fish tissue, especially those at the top of the aquatic food chain. By this means, it enters the human diet.

Arsenic is used in the production of pesticides, treated wood products, herbicides and insecticides and generally enters coastal waters through river runoff.

Research by Adina Bosch and others in Langebaan Lagoon found that one in three smooth hound sharks analysed in 2015 had methylmercury and arsenic levels significantly higher than allowable limits, and contained 14 other heavy metals.


Extremely rude, heartless, cunning and rude.

And is there no way for man to win? No way from him to assert dominion over his number one foe?

More as the story develops.

Confronting: British wave pool to test “expert” bona fides of guests before allowing ‘em to surf three-foot “Beast”!

Shredders must now pass test before being allowed near Wavegarden Cove's "advanced" settings.

In a move that has sent shock-waves through post-Brexit/Megxit England, surfers will be now be assessed before being allowed to ride Wavegarden Cove’s Beast setting at The Wave in Bristol.

As anyone who’s ridden the joint will tell ya, its two-foot intermediate setting  (“like a gentle day at Snapper”) has gotten real old, real quick.

But what are you gonna do when your clientele are, essentially, kooks?

As The Wave’s Founder Nick Hounsfield told Jamie Tierney, who visited the place for BeachGrit, it isn’t technology holding the place back, it’s the surfing level of its customers.

“Quite a few people are struggling to be honest what their ability might be,” he said.

“My session was marred by a handful of beginners who struggled to make the drop every time and didn’t get out of way of the surfer behind them quickly enough,” wrote Jamie. “It seems like a pretty easy solution to this would be to require surfers to prove they can handle a mellow setting before graduating to one that’s more advanced.”

You mean, a license?

A License to Ride?

Well, here it is.

Over the course of January and February, The Wave will be running “assessment days” where surfers will be pass or fail their Licence to Ride exam.

Those who pass will get to ride the pool on its advanced settings, which includes the three-foot “Beast”, a short slabbing barrel.

To get your Licence to Ride you should be able to:

• Comfortably ride waves above 2.0m
• Paddle in large waves and strong currents
• Duckdive
• Take-off consistently
• Generate speed
• Perform turns
• Negotiate sections
• Demonstrate respectful surf etiquette

Ask yourself, and ask honestly, would you pass?

Are you really the shredder you think you are?

I’m good for about two of the above, surf etiquette and duckdiving, not sure about the rest.

Sign up here.

Swimmer, pictured, being stung by box jellyfish.
Swimmer, pictured, being stung by box jellyfish.

Witnesses describe “tortured shrieks, breathless gasps for mercy” filling air as paradisiacal Hawaiian beach invaded by troupe of “unbelievably caustic” Box Jellyfish!

30 victims and counting...

Would you like to play a little game with me? A short, punchy round of “Would you Rather?” Ok, great. Would you rather have your foot nibbled by a Great White shark or get stung by a box jellyfish?

Oh, don’t answer too quickly. On the surface, getting a foot tasted by Great White seems the more terrible option but in these cases the wound is usually so deep that shock takes over, erasing pain. Also the victim of shark snack is, afterward, regarded as a hero, very lucky, and has a go-to bar story to tell for the rest of his life. Box jellyfish stings, on the other hand, hurt very, very badly. It is almost impossible to stifle tortured shrieks, breathless gasps for mercy, when wrapped by a poisonous tentacle. Being stung by a jellyfish is not a good story, either, as no one cares and being urinated upon is usually in the cards.


Before giving your answer let’s read about an invasion, yesterday, of a paradisiacal Hawaiian beach, Hanauma Bay that became invaded by a troupe of unbelievably caustic box jellyfish. Let’s learn of 30 victims.

The beach at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve has been closed for the day, Sunday, January 19.

This is due to an influx of Box Jellyfish.

According to the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation, there were 30 stings reported on Sunday morning.

The beach at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve will be closing today, 1/19/20, due to jellyfish. About 30 stings have been reported this morning. The upper areas, including the parking lot, viewpoint, & education center, will remain open. Will reassess beach tomorrow. Mahalo. #hbay

January 19 is first day of and anticipated three-four day Box Jellyfish influx.

The situation will be reassessed first thing in the morning Monday, January 20.

Now, Great White or Box? One last bit of info here, too, box jellyfish are deadlier than sharks.

Which one?

He's the one they call Dr. Feeeeelgood...
He's the one they call Dr. Feeeeelgood...

Breaking: Alaska dentist “living that surf life” extracts tooth while riding hoverboard, found guilty on 46 counts of “unlawful dental acts!”

You could be next.

And you know better than anyone, or at least as well, that there is no off switch on this surf life that we have chosen. No pause button either. Of course we’re surfers when we zip up our wetsuits and paddle out. When we double-knot our boardshorts, wax up our boards and rocket into the blue but we’re also surfers at work, surfers at home, surfers when shopping for lightbulbs at Home Depot. Surfers in the car, surfers at the bar, surfers when practicing dental surgery.

But,  apparently, living that surf life while practicing dental surgery comes with a heavy, heavy price tag and let us read the cautionary tale of Dr. Seth Lookhart, the Anchorage, Alaska dentist who became in very large trouble for riding a hoverboard whilst extracting teeths. Let us take notes on what to best avoid.

An Anchorage dentist has been found guilty of extracting a patient’s tooth while riding a hoverboard and unnecessarily sedating patients to maximize Medicaid payments, among a slew of other charges.

Based on “simply overwhelming” evidence presented by the state, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton found Seth Lookhart guilty on all 46 charges against him, Wolverton said in a written verdict released Friday. The charges included Medicaid fraud, reckless endangerment and “unlawful dental acts.”

“Perhaps most notable of all is the fact that this overwhelming amount of evidence was often supported, and often in excruciating detail, by Dr. Lookhart’s own texts, photos and videos,” Wolverton said in the verdict.

During the trial, which began Nov. 12, Lookhart’s defense attorney apologized for his client’s “idiotic” behavior and said Lookhart felt remorse for his actions.

Now, very easy to throw molars, as it were, but who here, who amongst us, has not mixed “surf” and “work” in inappropriate ways at inappropriate times? I’ll raise my hand and admit I’m doing it right now, even as you read.

And should we not set up an online outrage campaign seeing that our bro is being profiled and discriminated against?


It could be you, next, convicted on 46, or more, counts of “unlawful mixing of surf life and real stuff.”

It could be me.

Hacking darts, gill-style.
Hacking darts, gill-style.

The Global Tumor: Scientists engineer computer program that “biologically profiles” Great White sharks in order to save surfers from “vicious, godless” attack!


Mass, illegal, unwanted and unwarranted surveillance is what will eventually destroy our gloriously viral human organism, amiright? No? You enjoy various governmental and non-governmental bodies peeking in to your every purchases, every web search, every….thing because, “I’m not a weirdo, nothing to hide, whatever, etc…..?”


Well, I imagine “man-eating” Great White Sharks are not on #teamyou.

I imagine they are furious in relation to governmental and non-governmental interference exactly as you should be due the shake-down on disemboweling and calorie intake exactly as you should be.



Yet here we go.

Now imagine that a computer program could help researchers and safety officials predict, with some accuracy, where and when sharks may congregate. Such modeling software could offer an important new early warning system that would give everyone a heads up so that they would know when and where to look for our fierce visitors.

Right now, a pair of researchers – one from the state Division of Marine Fisheries and one from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School of Marine Science and Technology – are gathering data from 27 buoys that were strategically placed on both the ocean and bay sides of the Outer Cape. In addition to performing more traditional tasks, such as marking channels, these floats have been recording both the progress of sharks that have been tagged with radio frequency identification devices as well as the water temperature.

Officials want to correlate the temperature data – great white sharks favor water between 55 degrees and 73 degrees Fahrenheit – with the sharks’ travel patterns, essentially painting a picture as to what sort of weather seems the most conducive to shark visits. Taking all of that data into consideration, researchers hope to craft a computer model and warning system that will help local safety officials predict the location of sharks off our shores.

It may, however, be some time before this project produces the desired results. Researchers note that it will take at least two years to get all the necessary information, create a model, and then test that model under real-time conditions. As part of that process, they expect to examine almost 10 years of temperature data, as well as other environmental markers. It will only be after that data has been analyzed that researchers will be able to say with some degree of certainty that they can predict the sharks patterns.

If they are successful, there is the very real potential to attach data-capture devices to these same buoys that could provide real-time results and transmit the data to area beaches.

The science behind such innovations may be beyond the ken of many of us, but most of us can recognize the idea behind such computer modeling as a potentially valuable new tool. Combined with good old-fashioned lifeguarding, a heightened effort to train both rescuers and beachgoers in basic first aid preparedness, and a new emphasis on providing our beaches with emergency communication abilities that are more reliable and available than they currently are, beach visitors can enjoy a sense of being a bit safer than they would be without such improvements.

Big Brother is a Bastard.



Also, no more surfing for at lest the next decade.

Or two.