Sea Shepherd has been a strong advocate for many years for non lethal shark mitigation strategies, because the reality is that nets, drum-lines and shark culls are proven to be merely a false sense of security that make matters worse from a public safety perspective and decreasing biodiversity in our oceans that we all rely on.
On average, around five to ten shark fatalities occur around the globe per annum, and given the millions of people globally that enter the marine environment every day, it is clear that we are not on the menu, just sometimes in the way.
However, Sea Shepherd understands that as rare as they are, shark attacks do happen, and one of the main reasons that we lose people is through loss of blood, which can be an avoidable tragedy. Often through better signage or improved notification systems, we can minimise the risk of shark encounters, and through appropriate trauma response, we can minimise fatalities in the rare case of a shark incident.
After pushing for the introduction of medical kits at beaches that are known for shark activity, Sea Shepherd liaised with representatives from Shark Spotters in Cape Town, South Africa as well as Perth-based paramedic Jerry Barrett to create the Acute Shark Attack Pack (ASAP).
The pack, which is designed to be either taken to the beach or kept at the beach itself or local surf club, includes medical shears to cut through neoprene if necessary, trauma bandages, emergency blankets to keep a patient warm, tourniquets to stop the flow of blood loss, and a pictorial instructional sheet.
Sea Shepherd Medical Advisor Jerry Barrett, wanted to go one step further and create a video showcasing a real to life shark incident and how to respond using a trauma response kit like the ASAP as well as using first aid techniques supported by the Australian Resuscitation Council.
Jerry reached out to ocean conservationist, Sea Shepherd ambassador, former navy diver and shark attack survivor Paul De Gelder, whom was very happy to front the first aid shark response video.
“Without the calm reactions of my team mates and the application of a tourniquet above the wound, I may not have survived. If we interact with marine life in their natural surroundings, we need to be prepared for a worse case scenario. The Acute Shark Attack Pack is designed specifically to meet the needs of a shark interaction. We all love the great outdoors, we should all interact and respect the world around us,” Paul De Gelder said.
“Tragically, there has been many shark incidents where we have lost people due to loss of blood and if this video in combination with an ASAP type kit can save one life, then the effort in making this small production is by far worth it. We can not keep everyone safe off Australia’s vast, rich bio-diverse coastline, however we can be better prepared in the event of a rare shark incident,” Jerry Barrett, Sea Shepherd Medical Advisor, said.
View the video: First Aid Shark Response Video
Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.