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JOHN BAKER, State President, Surf Life Saving SA: We would like to respond to your article, Aerial patrols miss most sharks: new research.

Firstly we note the research is not based on our service here in SA because we do have crew who are trained for this purpose. For this reason we disagree with the findings being applicable to all services and operations. There is no doubt that sharks may be missed if outside the visible area or in murky waters and we cannot be everywhere, but at the same time a significant number are sighted and are herded to sea (disrupting the shark’s pattern). Further to this, local surf lifesavers and other resources such as Jet Rescue Boats and Jet Rescue Skis can be called into support making the area safe in such situations where a shark generally cannot be seen from the beach or water.

Your point about the “shark spotting” service supports our argument that the helicopter provides a far better service than the fixed wing. Because we are not just a “shark spotting” service. We are a rescue service and coastal surveillance operation and the more times we are in the air as a multi-use service, the greater value we can be.

Our helicopter crew are amongst the most highly accredited surf lifesavers in the State and could be considered “professional” volunteers.

The reason we have always said that the helicopter patrols achieve far more than the fixed wing is because the fixed wing cannot:

We are a rescue service that offers significant benefits because we are versatile and have many strings to our bow. That is where we differ most markedly from the fixed wing.

As an aside it is interesting to note that other States are putting more money into helicopters not reducing funding and our argument is that it is far better to strengthen and support a community organisation which has increased its patrolling responsibilities (ie a better return on investment).

The value of a life is far greater than the expense that is spent on saving them.

RICHARD BRINKMAN: Fifteen people per year are killed worldwide by sharks and 150 by falling coconuts. Kill the coconuts!

JENNY ESOTS: Hallelujah! SLASH wins the popular vote for the RAH site (Radical art gallery wins RAH site competition, InDaily, 10 December 2013).

Moving forward I am hoping to see art in all its wonderful variations on show to the world. A MONA style space would really be a feather in Adelaide’s cap.

CAROL FAULKNER: Thank you, InDaily, for publishing the article, Can the global economy keep growing?

We’re lucky to have at least one independent news service that isn’t afraid to stimulate discussion about limits to growth. For our other daily newspaper, the subject is seemingly off-limits.

The article by Henry and Donnelly, and the linked articles by Alexandra and Norgard et al make a compelling case for revisiting the Club of Rome’s 1972 watershed publication The Limits to Growth. The predictions made 40 years ago are unnervingly on track, and as observed by Henry and Donnelly: “We live in a time unprecedented in human history, where the limits to growth are in clear sight.”

I think it’s important to point out that a decreasing population growth rate is no cause for complacency. The United Nations estimates the world’s population will be 8.1 billion in 2025, 9.6 billion in 2050 and 10.9 billion by 2100. It will be many years before numbers actually start decreasing … if we can hold out that long. That’s why the time for action is now.

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