The Inertia Editorial Intern
Great White Shark Monterey Aquarium

Today, the local news teams published Dave Rastovich's least favorite words: "The hunt is on for the shark that savagely attacked surfer Eric Tarantino yesterday." Are you serious? You're going to hunt it down? For what? By the way, THIS is the shark from the Monterey Aquarium. Photo: Mbz1/Wikipedia Commons

The Inertia

So I’m just going to come right out and say it. Only four days after the Monterey Bay Aquarium released a Great White Shark, a 27-year old surfer was attacked less than 10 miles north of the Aquarium. Could it be? The Monterey Bay Aquarium released a man eater into the wild!

Ok, ok…so obviously this is not true. The aquarium’s shark was just over four feet long (4′ 8”) and the estimated length of the shark that bit surfer Eric Tarantino was estimated at 12-feet ( Also, the aquarium’s animal care staff released their shark just two miles off of Goleta Peir. It is estimated that Great White Sharks can swim at speeds up to 20 miles an hour and have a traveling range from the Pacific Northwest to the Hawaiian islands to Baja Mexico. Plus, they can become as large as a school bus and jump out of the water and swallow an entire seal and all that stuff. The facts just don’t add up. But don’t worry. The situation gets even more confusing.

Saturday morning I awoke to a voicemail from a friend, “Marvin, I know you like surfing up by Marina, but there was a shark attack so you might want to reconsider.” Sure enough, I saw the headline flashing across the local news homepage. All day at work, customers came in talking about the activity down at the beach. Midway through the day, I received a picture message from a friend of the bitten board; it wasn’t pretty. And nobody surfed the rest of the day.

Here are the facts: At roughly 7:15 AM on Saturday, October 29, Eric Tarantino was surfing Marina State Beach with his friends when they spotted the shark perusing the line-up. They proceeded to paddle in when Tarantino was bitten by the shark on his right arm and neck. He managed to paddle to shore, and thanks to the heroic efforts of his friends and some locals (the community here really is amazing when you need it), he will recover. He was transported to a San Jose Regional Medical Center where doctors say he will likely make a full recovery.


Tarantino’s friend, Todd Endris was attacked at the same beach exactly two months earlier in 2007. Endris, who is reported to have returned to the water only six weeks after his attack, was interviewed by the local news team on the day of this year’s attack. In the interview, Endris clearly says: “this is a marine sanctuary, and we choose to come out here and surf.”

In fact, The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the largest of our 13 marine sanctuaries at 6,094 square miles of federally protected ocean that stretches from just north of Pismo Beach to San Francisco. And further more, there are an estimated 12 Great White Sharks inside the Monterey Bay itself at any given moment.

Today, the local news teams published Dave Rastovich’s least favorite words: “The hunt is on for the shark that savagely attacked a surfer yesterday.”

What? Are you serious? You’re going to hunt it down? For what? Do you want to get back the skin he bit off? Come on.

This is what I meant when I said more confusing. When I heard these words I laughed aloud.

This isn’t an isolated idea. West Australia carried out a massive “shark hunt” for a shark they believed to be responsible for two attacks.

It is inconceivable that we would go after the shark for any reason. I mean, the sharks aren’t ostensibly exhibiting extra aggression towards humans, and we are absolutely decimating their populations. We notoriously catch hoards of sharks as by-catch throughout the fishing industry and even when sharks are hunted it’s often just for their fins, which are cut off and the shark left to die.

With successful missions like the banning of Shark Fin Soup in California and the recent Transparantsea Voyage it seems like a new era of environmental responsibility is slowly proliferating. So why the manhunts?

Is it Jaws? Is it because all they ever show on Shark Week is shark attacks? Why can’t we seem to let it go? Must we destroy everything that so much as bares its teeth at us?

By the way, it was eventually reported that the shark likely attacked Tarantino due to this year’s heavy red tide.

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