In April, a 20-year-old surfer off the coast of South Africa was killed by a great white shark. Fast forward to two weeks ago, another surfer was bitten in half in an attack off the coast of Australia.
In Western Australia, five people have been killed in 10 months. In South Africa, there have been more than 130 people attacked since the 1990s -- 22 of these attacks were fatal. Jacques Mostert is one of the lucky survivors of an attack that occurred at the beginning of July. He is now sharing the harrowing details of how he tried to protect himself and even made peace with the situation as he thought he would die.
In an interview with CNN, Mostert explained how he first thought it was a dolphin that passed by him. By the time he realized it was a great white, he said pulled his surf board closer toward his body, but he was he was soon being shaken by the shark. As the shark circled him a second time, Mostert said "I just prayed. I'm a Christian and at that moment I was like 'OK God, if this is the way I need to go, then I can go.'"
Watch the report:
Ultimately, it was a large wave that came along that saved Mostert. It enabled him to quickly paddle away from the shark and to shore.
A string of shark attacks around the world has some wondering if sharks should even be protected, as many are. The Sydney Morning Herald provides several opinions between that of a conservationist, a hunter, a researcher and a victim discussing this question. The conservationist believes there are still many unknowns about the great white shark, meriting its protection. The researcher doesn't see a correlation between shark conservation and increased safety. He said increased safety measures and awareness for surfers and beach goers is what really could result in a more peaceful relationship between sharks and humans. Even the victim, who spoke out in the opinion piece, said he realizes he and other surfers are only visitors to the sharks habitat and wouldn't advocate culling sharks to reduce attacks.
The hunter believes sharks aren't really being protected for conservation reasons -- nor do they need it. He said they are merely being protected for lucrative cage diving activities. Many believe this activity is what is increasing shark attacks as a whole in the first place.
Either way, the shark attacks do not seem to keep surfers from the water -- even Mostert. He said, "for me to stay out of the water is going to be difficult."