Australian surfer dies in a shark attack

A 60 year-old man has died following a shark attack in Australia on Sunday. Named as Rob Pedretti, the semi-retired surfer took the waters on Sunday not knowing it would be his final time to hit the waves. Police were called to Salt Beach, South Kingscliff in New South Wales at around 10 am where […]

Lily Holbrook
9th June 2020
Image: WIkimedia Commons

A 60 year-old man has died following a shark attack in Australia on Sunday.

Named as Rob Pedretti, the semi-retired surfer took the waters on Sunday not knowing it would be his final time to hit the waves.

Police were called to Salt Beach, South Kingscliff in New South Wales at around 10 am where Pedretti had been brought to shore by 2 friends. After sustaining a severe bite wound to the back of his left thigh, Pedretti died on the beach.

Following the attack on Sunday, local police authorities were granted permission to destroy the 3 metres long great white shark, however, these measures have since been withdrawn. Pedretti's death marks the third fatal attack in Australian waters this year, once again putting sharks under scrutiny.

Pedretti's death marks the third fatal attack in Australian waters this year.

Sharks have a notoriously bad reputation in the media, often depicted as violent killing machines. But this is not the case: sharks sometimes mistake surfers for seals but do not deliberately seek out humans as prey. It is important to remember that shark attacks are extremely rare, with only 5 fatalities reported globally in 2019, none of which were in Australia. This compares to 100 million sharks and rays being killed by fisheries each year.

Sharks are essential for ocean health by removing diseased prey to keep populations in check. When shark numbers are in decline, mid-level fish such as snapper and tuna thrive, meaning the herbivorous fish they feed on become depleted. This can result in algal overgrowth which may be detrimental to the resilience of reef systems.

Pedretti's friends believe there is no way he would want the shark dead

Despite the devastating attack, Pedretti's friends believe there is no way he would want the shark that killed him dead. Accepting the risk of entering their realm, friend Craig Tulloch, said 'It's their domain. We're just visiting.'

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AUTHOR: Lily Holbrook
MA Media & Journalism student and science sub-editor for the 20/21 academic year.

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