Oliver Duff

i Editor's Letter: Obsessed by sharks

 

Share

 

There is one piece of television I am looking forward to more than the return of Sherlock. (You can find Ellen E Jones’s review here, but if you haven’t seen the first  episode, be warned, her write-up  carries a major “spoiler alert”.)

The BBC’s Natural History Unit has been quietly filming a major series on sharks, my mole in the unflattering neoprene tells me. After shooting around the world – from South Africa, Australia and Mexico to Norway and the Hebrides – the film crews are now back in their editing suites in Bristol.

I’m obsessed by sharks, a creature that has barely changed for 400 million years and yet is still so poorly understood. I was frightened by them  until four years ago, when I dived on  the Great Barrier Reef while on assignment in Queensland. Seeing  your first sharks glide out of the Pacific haze right at you quickly gives you  a humbling sense of insignificance within nature’s expanse. Their gift to  the two-legged intruder is mystery, power, grace, mutual curiosity.

In Western Australia, the state is about to embark on a mass shark cull, following the deaths of six surfers and swimmers in two years. Scientists dismiss the slaughter as well-intended but futile and possibly counter-productive – not to mention further endangering threatened species. Politicians will get carcasses to hoist aloft at the seaside, but “there is evidence [it will] draw white sharks in,” says Christopher Neff, who has completed the first PhD on the “politics of shark attacks”. Perhaps someone should make a blockbuster film...

Another Pacific hotspot which has also seen several fatal attacks, the  Hawaiian island of Maui, has turned to  education instead. Marine scientists are electronic-tagging tiger sharks – and the public can follow eight of them online (go to tinyurl.com/nsfyoav). It won’t tell you when it’s safe to go in the water, but may help begin to unravel this aquatic enigma. Bring on Auntie’s take on Jaws.

i@independent.co.uk

Twitter: @olyduff

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Hang on – that’s not how it’s supposed to be written

Guy Keleny
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test