Poo Contaminating Melbourne’s Beaches Is Apparently Attracting Sharks

beach closed

January 10, 2017 – “I’d say it’s sharkier than normal,” Life Saving Victoria’s Greg Scott confirmed.

For most Australians, hot summer evenings are spent spent paddling about in pristine ocean waters, eating ice creams, and developing skin cancers. For Melburnians though, summer means staying inside while weird tropical storms flood your beach with fecal matter.

Or such was the case last week, when a torrential downpour overcame storm water systems and contaminated most of the city’s swimming beaches with human fecal matter—as well as bird poo, horse poo, and cow poo. Yum.

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Beaches were closed around Port Phillip Bay after suspicious waste was spotted bobbing in the water, languishing on grey-colored sand, and sticking to piles of seaweed. Trying to swim at a Melbourne beach is admittedly a masochistic act at the best of times, but this situation was particularly bleak.

Due to an increased risk of gastro infection, Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) was forced to warn citizens against swimming in 21 popular beaches, including St Kilda beach.

As of Monday, the EPA said all of Port Phillip Bay’s 36 beaches are once again feces free.

However, Fisheries Victoria has warned that there the state’s reported shark sightings are now at a three to four year high. More than 20 sharks were sighted on the Melbourne coast on Monday, forcing beaches to close once more.

Some of the roving sharks spotted have included great whites, as well as less-terror-inducing species like bronze whalers.

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Some media outlets are now reporting high levels of bacteria may be attracting more fish to the beaches, and in turn more fish-eating sharks. However, the shark experts that VICE spoke to were skeptical about the supposed increase.

“I’m not convinced,” said Deakin University Associate Professor of Life Sciences Laurie Laurenson. While sharks will move to where the fish are, Professor Laurenson stressed the increased number of sightings could easily be a result of more people getting out there looking for sharks. “An increase in sightings is not a standard measure of sharks.”

Life Saving Victoria operations manager Greg Scott begs to differ, telling radio station 3AW yesterday that the number of recent shark sightings was unusual. “There are a lot more sharks closer to shore than we’ve seen at any time in recent years,” he said. “I’d say it’s sharkier than normal.”

Sharkier, and pooier. If you live in Melbourne, you can check out the water quality at your local beach here. Current advice dictates that swimmers should avoid swimming near stormwater or river outlets 24 to 48 hours after heavy rain. And maybe keep an eye out for pointy fins too.

Credit https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/the-poo-contaminating-melbournes-beaches-is-apparently-attracting-sharks

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