Shark nets should go: victim speaks out

LISA Mondy wants to get one thing straight – she’s not a ‘‘greenie’’ or a ‘‘shark weirdo’’. She is a woman who survived a vicious attack from a great white shark and is now lending her voice to a campaign aimed at eradicating the netting that kills the ocean’s most feared predators.

Ms Mondy, 25, said the attack on Charlestown tattoo artist Glen ‘‘Lenny’’ Folkard’’ at Redhead beach on January18 only added weight to the argument that netted beaches were outdated.

‘‘Shark nets, like the ones at Redhead beach, are used purely on the principal that less sharks mean less attacks,’’ she said.

‘‘They don’t work as a barrier and protect us from shark attacks. They only indiscriminately kill a lot of marine species including sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins, whales, seals and of course sharks,’’ she said. ‘‘Shark netting was introduced over 70 years ago and is now outdated and in dire need of revising.’’

Ms Mondy, of Port Stephens, is suggesting a warning system or safety rating be introduced to help swimmers and surfers make their own decisions about the water’s safety.

‘‘Something that looks at the movement of bait fish, seals and other things that are known to attract sharks as well as water visibility and temperature could provide an accurate safety rating for people wanting to go into the water,’’ she said.

‘‘You could even develop it into an iPhone application and when people go to check the weather they could just check the water safety for that day as well.

‘‘I think something like that would significantly decrease the incidence of encounters with sharks and people could analyse the risk themselves and make their own decision and take a bit of responsibility for their own safety.’’

Ms Mondy was wakeboarding off Jimmys beach on March16 last year when a great white shark attacked her twice, dragging her underwater and mauling her neck and left arm.

She ‘‘owed her life’’ to Rowan Cutbush, who dived into the water and helped drag her to the safety of a boat, and Mark Green, who immediately began administering first aid.

‘‘He [Rowan] had his hand inside my arm, clogging my artery,’’ she said.

‘‘It was just bone, there was just tatters left, it was all hanging by a thread.’’

Surgeons saved her arm after a 16-hour operation.

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