Byron Bay’s iconic Wategos Beach is the first in the state to receive what could be a life-saving medical kit containing key items needed in first aid situations following a shark attack.
The Acute Shark Attack Pack, or more aptly ASAP, is part of the Shark Spotters system successfully in place on South African beaches but rejected by the NSW Government.
It has come to Australia as part of a recent shark spotting study at in Byron Bay, organised by Sea Shepherd Australia, in conjunction with the Byron Shire Council and Greens MP Tamara Smith.
Sea Shepherd Australia liaised with representatives from Shark Spotters in Cape Town, South Africa as well as Perth-based military paramedic, Jerry Barrett to create ASAP.
The pack, which is designed to be either taken to the beach or kept at the beach itself, 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.
Natalie Banks, National Shark Campaign Coordinator for Sea Shepherd Australia stated that she had, in conjunction with representatives from Shark Spotters, recommended the introduction of medical kits at beaches that were known for shark sightings, particularly at remote beaches, but that these recommendations had not been taken seriously by the New South Wales State Government.
‘While we cannot keep every person safe on every beach on Australia’s vast coastline, we can do more to save lives, and The Acute Shark Attack Pack is something we are extremely proud to introduce in conjunction with the Byron Shire Council and Greens at Wategos Beach ‘ Natalie said.
‘This type of pack has been used to save a life from blood loss due to a shark bite in Cape Town, South Africa and it can quite easily save a life in Byron Bay.’
Byron Mayor Simon Richardson said he was happy to have worked alongside Tamara Smith and Sea Shepherd ‘to bring best practice, proven shark mitigation strategies to Wategos.’
‘Our community views the ocean with wonder and respect, as we also do all the creatures within it, so focusing on spotting sharks, not impeding or interfering with them whilst also providing ways to care for humans, if needed, aligns with our values.’
The Acute Shark Attack Pack will be on hand during a shark spotting trial at Wategos Beach that will take place later this year, and will then be provided to the community as the first dedicated Shark Attack Pack for the region.
Sea Shepherd will be looking at options to include a medical training session as part of the handover of the shark attack pack to provide an overall program focused on trauma incidents and saving lives