THE fatal shark attack at Coffs Harbour on Saturday is a wake-up call for beachgoers and surfers to heed the very real dangers sharks pose says surfer Ben Bennink.
The Byron Bay surfer said he believed a sense of ambivalence to the dangers of sharks had spread among today's society.
Mr Bennink said when he warned a tourist in the water at The Pass last week that he spotted a large shark in the area, the tourist replied: "sharks are harmless".
"People in the last 15 to 20 years have seemed to have developed this attitude that sharks are harmless," Mr Bennink said.
What we should be doing is educating people that there are sharks in the water, and at times, they have been known to bite people
"There seems to be an attitude now of either sharks are harmless, or it's our domain and we should cull them and get rid of them."
Mr Bennink said shark alarms that cleared the water in the 1980's and 1990's when a shark was sighted were the most effective way of managing any threat.
"What we should be doing is educating people that there are sharks in the water, and at times, they have been known to bite people."
"If people see a shark, let others know and get out of the water."
Hunting a shark responsible for an attack was like a "needle in a haystack" prospect, Mr Bennink said.
Lifeguards in two inflatable rescue boats patrolled Byron Bay's Main Beach yesterday as 300 nippers hit the water for their annual team's carnival.
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