Sunday, December 5, 2010

Are You Shark Bait?

In many jokes, Lawyers are compared to sharks.

However, there are things far worse than lawyers, worse than dorsal finned monsters, and they walk on two legs. They are "shark baiters."

In the first week of December, 2010, five tourists were attacked by sharks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. One was killed, others maimed. Why? Aren't such attacks more unlikely than being struck by lightning?

Sharm el-Sheikh

The following report was printed in The Telegaraph. It suggests that the culprits were shark baiters:

Five attacks within six days culminated in the death of a 70-year-old German woman who was snorkelling close to the shore in Sharm el-Sheikh. Egypt's tourism ministry called in experts and conservationists from abroad to investigate as speculation mounted as to what caused such an unusual spate of attacks, thought to be the work of at least one oceanic whitetip shark.
Elke Bojanowksi, a leading researcher on Red Sea sharks, admitted that the international team hastily put together to track the predators down was in possession of very few details.

"No one can honestly say whether it was one shark or more," she said. "We are trying to get more information on what happened and why it happened." But she acknowledged that tour guides who take tourists out to spot sharks have been known to throw offal overboard in order to lure the predators closer.

"It seems there could be links with illegal feeding and baiting," Ms Bojanowski added.

- January 19, 2011

The carcass of a sheep was found washed ashore near the resort. How does a sheep wind up in the Red Sea? Was it a tourist, too?

A growing number of shark attacks are attributed to "shark-baiting." It is the practice of attracting sharks to an area by feeding them chum. Sharks are attracted with fish heads, blood, and even live puppies and kittens. Below is a photo of a dog which had been rescued from a shark-baiter. A fishing line was run through the Golden retriever's snout

Why would anyone want to attract sharks? One reason is fishing. Another is tourism, Wealthy people, whom one critic called "rich douches," find it exciting to see live, powerful sharks up close and personal. In South Africa, Australia, and the Red Sea, it's common for rich tourists to pay local dive shots to take them to shark infested waters where they can see the beasts within the protection of a shark cage. Unfortunately, surfers and tourists playing in the same water aren't protected. They aren't even aware that hungry sharks have been baited to the area, and that the animals have been led by the baiters to associate people with food.

There is one area off San Francisco Bay called the "Red Triangle."It was named for bloody shark attacks. Approximately thirty-eight percent of recorded Great White Shark attacks on humans in the United States have occurred within the Red Triangle - eleven percent of the worldwide total. Why" Could it be shark baiters? Bodega Marine Lab’s 20-foot workboat “The Cape Horn” has been used to lay bait for Great White sharks between Chimney Rock and Tomales Point on the “Ten-mile beach” side of the Point Reyes Seashore. The Lab claims  it is engaged in scientific research. The Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in Santa Cruz claims it baits sharks to tag them, but denies actually feeding them bait. They say their research will save the lives of sharks and humans.  19-year-old Lucas McKaine Ransom wasn't saved by it. He was killed by a shark off of nearby "Surf Beach" on October 22, 2010.

So, are you willing to go back into the water? Are you shark bait?

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