Australia has seen two shark attacks in as many days, but at least one expert is saying the incidents don't warrant panic.
Tadashi Nakahara, a 41-year-old Japanese man, died Monday morning after a shark bit off his legs and ripped his board in half, according to reports. The incident occurred when Nakahara was waiting for a wave 30 feet off Shelly Beach in New South Wales, Australia. It was Australia's sixth shark-related death within 12 months, according to the Australian Associated Press.
Another surfer suffered puncture wounds on his back and buttocks from a shark on Sunday, when he was fewer than 13 miles south of Shelly Beach. His injuries are not considered to be life-threatening.
Despite the back-to-back attacks, Daniel Bucher, a senior lecturer in marine biology at Southern Cross University, told The Guardian there's no need for alarm.
Considering the growth in Australia's population and tourist numbers, Bucher said, "You would presume the number of people in the water would also have increased, yet the number of people interacting with sharks hasn't changed. That suggests the number of sharks in the water has actually gone down."
Bucher also said that sharks are known to travel down Australia's east coast and hunt more actively during the summer when the water is warmer.
In 2014, after a string of shark attacks, the Australian government enacted a controversial shark cull for three months. It was met with wide protests and was discontinued following recommendations from the Environmental Protection Authority.
More than 170 sharks were caught during the cull. Close to 70 died or were killed while the smaller sharks were released. Critics, however, argue the death toll could be higher since the lines may have injured smaller sharks beyond the point of survival.
Australian Olympian swimmer and Ironman Ky Hurst took to Instagram this week to plead for a deeper understanding of sharks after the recent attacks.
"I understand that it's tragic that there have been 2 attacks in the last day in NSW," he wrote, "but understand that it's their back yard not ours. If people don't like the thought of sharks or the possibility of being attacked then it's very simple, stay out of the ocean and stick to the pools."
He ended his caption with the hashtag, "#nosharkcull."
I understand that it's tragic that there have been 2 attacks in the last day in NSW but understand that it's their back yard not ours. If people don't like the thought of sharks or the possibility of being attacked then it's very simple, stay out of the ocean and stick to the pools. I feel that the beauty of the ocean far out way the risks that may lay beneath. #healthyoceans #nosharkcull