A teenage shark attack victim in Australia is saying that sharks should not be blamed for being the apex predator of the oceans. At the same time, the Australian government is mulling proposals over shark culling and shark nets based upon the great white shark attack deaths that occurred earlier in 2014.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, an Australian boater had to fend off a great white shark attack with a paddle. A young surfer lost sections from both arms in a shark attack off the south coast of Western Australia. The Byron Bay shark attack involved a great white shark, and the swimmer was killed in the incident. In response, the debate over great white shark culling efforts have intensified, and two great white sharks were killed by authorities.
Kirra-Belle Olsson, 13, has won numerous junior surfing titles, and she's already looking forward to competing at the national titles in Western Australia state in December. But when she accidentally dropped in on a shark in a wave, the shark responded by biting her foot and calf three times.
"I took the wave and then I twice felt something grab my foot, and I thought it was a mate behind me trying to scare me," Olsson told ABC News. "Then the third time it (the shark) swung me around and tried to pull me under."
Although the shark attack wounds required surgery, Olsson remembers laughing off the incident when she first emerged from the waves.
"I paddled in just like in shock, just started laughing. I was like: 'Whoa, what the hell, I just got bitten by a shark, oh my God,'" Kirra-Belle said. "And then I got halfway carried up the beach... and telling my friend Saxon, 'take photos, take photos.'"
Having such a good attitude despite suffering from a shark attack can partially be explained by her previous experiences with running into sharks while surfing the Australian waves.
"This shark was right in front of me with its mouth wide open getting a fish," she told the Daily Telegraph. "It's their home, they're only doing what they do every day. It's not like they say, 'there's a person I'm going to eat it.'"
The shark attack victim took to her Facebook page while in the hospital. Besides posting photos of her shark bite wounds, she also told the world they need to respect sharks.
"Sharks are one of the most amazing creatures as I snorkel with them and they don't attack unless they mistake you for a fish. I'm not a negative person, so if you people writing some negative comments could please stop."
Some politicians have responded to Australia's shark attack incidents by claiming that a special response unit needed to be created that had the authority to "remove, catch, kill, or whatever" sharks. Other reports insisted that shark culling efforts needed to be renewed based upon opinions voiced by fishermen and other experts.
On the other side of the debate, the Western Australia EPA rejected a controversial shark culling program that used bait lines attached to floating drums in order to catch sharks. Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson also believed that shark nets should not be implemented.
"I don't believe that it would be widely supported in our community and should not be considered within a stunning marine park on our doorstep. The ocean belongs to our marine life and our respect, passion and how we interact with it will, for many, be an individual choice."
According to ABC, the Greens' Michael Baldock acknowledged the failure of the shark culling program to prevent shark attacks but also said, "I support the shark barrier in Busselton. I think we need to do something to address people's fears." The National's Peter Gordon noted that surfers and divers "won't be swimming within shark net enclosures," adding, "It's one of those feel-good ideas: make everyone feel happy, wasting money. I'd rather spend it on mental health."