Scuba Diver Killed by Shark Off Stratham Beach, Western Australia

Posted on March 31, 2012

A 33-year-old scuba diver was killed yesterday by a shark while scuba diving off the southwest coast of Western Australia. The man was with diving with his brother off Stratham Beach when he was killed. The man's brother was unharmed. The Australian reports that the type of shark has not been identified.

Adelaide Now says Hugh Edwards, an author of books about sharks (such as <Shark) says he is almost certain the scuba diver was killed by a great white. He also says it can't be ruled out that one shark was behind all the recent attacks in Western Australia.

There have been four fatal shark attacks in Western Australia since September 2011. Before 2011 deaths from shark attacks were far less frequent, averaging only about one every two years between 2000 and 2010. The Western Australia Department of Fisheries is now looking for the shark. They have a section about sharks here on their website, which includes some shark safety tips. The WA Department of Fisheries writes that shark attacks are rare and much less frequent than road traffic fatalities:
The risk of shark attack is extremely low. On average, there is about one fatal shark attack in Australian waters per year. Road traffic fatalities are significantly higher with, on average, four people losing their lives on Australian roads every week.

Of course, the rarity of shark attacks does not take away from the horrific nature of a fatal attack when it does occur. Nor does the seemingly random nature of shark attacks help to allay fears about being bitten. The wide range of shark behaviours, injuries to victims and circumstances involved with shark attacks, suggest that there is no easy single explanation for why sharks very occasionally bite people.
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