"You’ve got a situation where the numbers of Great Whites have built right back up again. I don’t think a lot of people understand that. The numbers are very high."
The inhabitants of Esperance, a holiday hamlet seven hundred clicks south of Perth, are in shock today, or maybe not considering it’s become a regular occurrence, after a teenage girl was attacked by a suspected Great White at Kelpies, a pretty stretch of sand on an impossibly pretty stretch of coastline.
Shortly before the attack, a ten-foot Great White was sighted at the same beach.
Public report 3.0m unknown sp. shark sighted 11:45hrs 06/02, E1754 Kelp Beds Beach BEN Sign, Esperance 100m offshore , 500 west of sign.
— Surf Life Saving WA (@SLSWA) February 6, 2022
The eighteen-year-old is reported to’ve suffered a “seri9us shark bite” and has been flown to Perth for surgery.
WA’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) says it is “currently investigating a reported shark bite incident at Kelp Beds in the Shire of Esperance. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) are currently involved in assisting Rangers from the Shire of Esperance with a serious shark bite incident at Kelp Beds, Wylie Bay in the Shire of Esperance. DPIRD is working with local authorities and further information will be provided as it becomes available.”
Kelpies has history.
In October 2020, well-known local surfer Andrew Sharper was killed, no, disappeared by a Great White.
A local surfer said he was taken “almost whole. The body is just fucking gone.”
Esperance local, Jess Anne, was swimming with her kid a kilometre away and said the water turned red.
Teenager Laticia Brouwers died in front of her family after being hit by a Great White in 2017, Sean Pollard, 23, had an arm and another hand bitten off by a Great White in 2014 and it’s just a few clicks away from where diver Gary Johnson was killed by a White in January, 2020.
Diver Greg Pickering, who’s been hit twice by sharks, the last a Great White in Esperance in 2013, called for a cull after Laticia Brouwers was hit warning, then, that WA could expect “more of the same” unless action was taken to reduce growing shark numbers.
An abalone diver for forty years, he told PerthNow, “There wasn’t any. You never saw them. That’s changed now. You’ve got a situation where the numbers have built right back up again. I don’t think a lot of people understand that. The numbers are very high. I’d say they’re similar to what they were in the 1960s. I’ve seen more sharks over the last few years than in the 20 or 30 years before that.”
The Western Australian premier Mark McGowan is currently preparing a press release saying, and I paraphrase here, nothing to see here, no need to panic, shark attacks are merely a result of man entering the beast’s domain, no evidence of increased numbers etc.