Victorian beaches have become a danger zone in recent times due to the large amount of shark sightings that have been occurring.
A series of unusual shark sightings have forced Melbourne and Victorian beaches to close, leaving hot and bothered Melburnians to swelter through another week of hot temperatures.
In Australia, the number of people being bitten by sharks has increased dramatically over the last 20 years with more unprovoked attacks happening each year.
According to the Australian Shark Attack File (ASAF), which has been recording information on shark encounters for over 32 years, unprovoked shark attacks are becoming more common annually.
The record peaked in 2015, with 22 unprovoked attacks being recorded around Australia, these attacks accounting for more than 22 per cent of the worldwide total.
Last year the number of attacks decreased slightly with only 17 unprovoked attacks being recorded around Australia which is still one of the highest amounts recorded.
Australia is well known for its beach culture with an estimated 11,900 beaches surrounding its coasts, and with more than 85 per cent of Australians living within 50 kilometres of the coast it is not surprising the rate of attacks has increased.
However, according to authorities the recent spark in shark related incidents comes because of numerous schools of bait fish that are luring sharks to the shores of popular beaches.
Because of the large rainfall that occurred at the end of last year, nutrients were washed into the ocean boosting fish populations and creating an explosion in bait fish numbers.
Although the risk of a shark attack may be scary, don’t let it stop you from entering the water and ruining your summer!
Here are some safety points by the Australian Shark Attack File that can help minimise an attack.
1. Swim at beaches patrolled by Surf Life Savers- it’s their job to keep an eye on things and look out for any signs of danger in the water.
2. Always swim with other people – swimming with others my deter a shark from attacking, alternatively, if something does happen a companion can assist you in an emergency.
3. If schooling fish congregate in large numbers, leave the water- sharks like to feed on bait fish.
4. If a shark is sighted in the area, leave the water.