Like many of my generation, the open waters of the sea have been completely ruined by Steven Spielberg. I can’t so much as walk past a large puddle without the eerie soundtrack of Jaws playing in my ear. As for the beaches of warmer climates like Australia, forget it. The water may look peaceful enough, but who knows what twenty foot, nerd eating monster is lurking beneath the surface.
It seems, however, that my excuses could soon run dry. Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) have recently launched a twitter feed to let you know the exact whereabouts of these predators. Sharks of a certain size that have been previously tagged, trigger the tweets by entering water within 1km of popular beaches, giving details of their species, size and location.
The idea follows a spate of attacks over recent years which included 5 fatalities in just the last 12 months. The concern of many environmentalists, however, is that the new twitter feed will be used by shark hunters, since the killing of large sharks has recently been legalised in Western Australia in reaction to the attacks on humans.
It’s yet another example of twitter’s unrivalled ability to broadcast real time information to a mass audience. Who knows whether it will catch on in other parts of the world – shark attacks continue to be extremely rare – but with 18,000 followers already, I’m glad to see I’m not alone in my irrational paranoia (although I admit that the chances of an attack are particularly remote on the streets of Leicester).