Shark attack victim Greg Pickering has undergone 10 hours of surgery and is in a stable condition after a horrifying attack yesterday.
Mr Pickering – who survived an attack by a 1.5m bronze whaler in March 2004, while spearfishing with a friend about 9km off Cervantes – was working about 180km east of Esperance in Western Australia yesterday when he was attacked again, by what’s believed to be a great white shark.
Just before 9am this morning a Royal Perth Hospital spokeswoman said Mr Pickering was out of surgery and in a stable condition. He is expected to speak to the media about his ordeal in the next few days.
Tonight, Nine News reports that Mr Pickering was bitten on the head and chest, and that he has lost an eye in the attack.
Nine News also reports that Mr Pickering endured hours of travelling by boat and car before he could receive medical treatment.
His quick-think diving colleagues applied pressure on his wounds with anything they could find as he endured a 40km boat tow back to shore.
At the same time, a crew on a nearby boat lent assistance and used a satellite phone to arrange a rendezvous point with paramedics.
Early this afternoon, the WA fisheries department cancelled a “catch and kill” order for the shark.
Director General Stuart Smith issued a statement saying the order had been cancelled because there was no longer an imminent risk of another attack.
“There have been no further sightings of a white shark in the area and it is likely that the shark responsible for the attack is no longer in this general locality,” Mr Smith said.
“Efforts have also been made to advise people camping around Cape Arid about the incident which has reduced the likelihood of them entering the water.”
Capture gear was deployed at the site of the attack yesterday and re-set at 5am this morning.
Earlier today, the department said the shark posed an imminent threat to campers to the area during school holidays.
But Mr Smith conceded this morning it was possible the wrong shark could be caught.
“We probably won’t know for sure unless there’s evidence of DNA that we will be able to test,” he told reporters this morning.
Mr Smith admitted the DNA results would not come back until after the animal was killed.
But he added that the size of the animal would also help to determine if it was likely to be the shark that attacked Mr Pickering.
Mr Smith said the department’s shark experts had informed him that the shark could have swum away from the area or it could remain lurking in the waters for some time.
It is the second time a kill order has been issued in WA.
On the previous occasion, two tiger sharks were caught and released after they were tagged, but the great white shark the department was looking for was not found, Mr Smith said.
A department spokeswoman said a decision on whether to continue with the kill action would be made this afternoon.
Australian Underwater Federation WA spearfishing representative Graham Carlisle told reporters that Mr Pickering was an active and respected member of WA’s diving community and had held the position as records officer with the federation for many years.
“Greg has always been involved in the ocean life; he’s spent a lot of his time in the water both for pleasure and for work,” he said.
“He would have had a number of close calls, as would any spearfisherman.
“The more time in the water, the higher probability something will happen. That’s just an accepted reality of the work.
“The guys are very cautious, they’re very careful in general.”
Mr Carlisle said the diving and spearfishing community was very close-knit in WA.
“All the abalone divers know each other and the spearfishermen are just as tight,” he said.
Police were alerted to the attack at 10.25am yesterday morning. It’s believed Mr Pickering suffered serious injuries.
He was taken to shore by divers on a nearby boat and transferred to Esperance Hospital by St John Ambulance just before 2pm.
For more on this story click here.
Photo: Jordan Shields
The Big Shark Pledge: Shark Trust’s new campaign kicks off with a call for support
With the ink still drying on last week’s landmark listing of nearly 100 species of sharks on Appendix II of CITES, the Shark Trust insists that this is not the time for shark conservation to take a break. The UK-based NGO this week launches its biggest-ever concerted campaign to tackle the overfishing of oceanic sharks. They are calling on people across the world to join the call for stricter controls on high seas fisheries.
The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious set of campaign actions. Working to secure science-based catch limits on all sharks and rays affected by the international high seas fishing fleet. The pledge will build the largest campaigning community in shark and ray conservation history to support a raft of policy actions over the vital years ahead.
Many of our best known and much-loved sharks make their home on the high seas. In our shared ocean, these oceanic sharks and rays face a very real threat from a huge international fleet of industrial-scale fishing vessels. Research published in early 2021 confirmed that over three-quarters of oceanic sharks and rays are now at risk of extinction due to the destructive impact of overfishing. They have declined by 71% over the last 50 years.
The Shark Trust is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and has a long history of securing positive changes for sharks, skates and rays. The Big Shark Pledge will build on the success of their NoLimits? campaign which underpinned landmark catch limits on Blue Sharks and Shortfin Mako in the North Atlantic.
“While the listing of so many species on the CITES trade agreement is certainly a positive step, there remains a huge challenge in ensuring that sustainable practices are embedded in international fisheries.” says Shark Trust Director of conservation, Ali Hood. “Sharks on the high seas face extraordinary pressure from excessive fishing practices. This has to be addressed through international agreements such as those secured for Blues and makos.”
There is hope and a feeling of momentum in the shark conservation community. Just last week, in addition to the new CITES listings, the Shark Trust, working with partners in the Shark League, secured the first-ever international quota for South Atlantic Mako at ICCAT meeting in Portugal. The new campaign from the Shark Trust aims to push forwards from here, engaging a wave of support through the Big Shark Pledge to bolster policy action.
This will be a long-term international and collaborative effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high-seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And making the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.
Shark Trust CEO Paul Cox says of the Big Shark Pledge “It’s designed to give everyone who cares about the future of sharks the chance to add their voice to effective and proven conservation action. By adding their name to the Pledge, supporters will be given opportunities to apply pressure at key moments to influence change.”
Jeff chats to… Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Watch Video)
In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Craig is a Key Grip and Lighting Director with 10,000s of hours of Set Experience.
In Craig’s own words:
I started my career when I was in my first year of college. I always had that creative side of the brain that needed to be followed as a career. I thought that would be in designing engineering pieces but wasn’t happy about the idea of an office cubicle and drafting table.
I accidentally found my way onto a big commercial job for a week and decided “THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO”. I made it my career after that. This is a quick list of recent and big projects in my 35 yrs of TV / Film / Photography.
- “Black Panther 2” – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
- “Stranger Things” Season 4 – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
- “Suicide Squad 2” – UW Gaffer / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
- NASCAR / FOX Sports 1 – Network TV Lighting Director – 7 years / 700 races of Live BIG track TV shows
- 10,000s of commercials / music videos / tv shows
I started diving when I was 18 years old with my OW and then AOW with PADI. I was diving with lots of friends in the late 80s and early 90s and then moved onto Kayaking. I got my daughter into diving when she turned 14 and have picked up where I left off.
I have approx 5000 dives now and spend most of my free time diving.
Here are my certs:
- OW – AOW 1989
- Adv Nitrox / Deco 2020
- Cavern – Intro Cave 2021
- CCR Tech – Fathom – 2021
You can find out more at www.craigwaller.com
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.
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