Shark Attacks At ALL TIME High

In some parts of the world, when a shark attacks a human, the shark becomes the hunted.

Off Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, where in the past five years nearly 20 attacks and seven fatalities have occurred, anti-shark efforts include huge nets and underwater spotters armed with harpoons.

Areas of South Africa also have offshore nets as well as a flag system to alert beachgoers when sharks are lurking nearby. And in Australia, after two deadly shark attacks in a week, a 14-foot shark was captured and killed on a baited drum line.

As shark attacks become more common – last year was an all-time record for shark attacks worldwide – governments and lifeguard agencies are figuring out how to protect the public, sometimes in controversial ways.

In Orange County – where the most serious shark attack in recent history took place May 29, when a triathalete was seriously injured by what experts believe was a great white – the weapon of choice, so far, is information.

Since the attack in Corona del Mar, local lifeguards have met with great white experts to learn more about the species. They’re surveying the coast more carefully and more frequently. And they’re shutting down beaches (at least twice in the past month) with less provocation. At least one agency, Seal Beach, is using a drone to scan the waters for sharks. Longtime Orange County lifeguards and experts are seeing more sharks than ever before.

Former surf champion Ian Cairns is no stranger to coastal waters turning sharky.

The Laguna Beach resident grew up in Western Australia, where he never feared sharks, even though he knew some might be nearby.

But after deadly attacks in the region – at least 12 since 2000 – the attitude is shifting.

“The whole environment with sharks has changed,” Cairns said. “They’ve grown big, and they’ve grown deadly.

“I see a real parallel to what is happening here,” he added. “We never thought about sharks. Now, they are everywhere.”

Like in California, where hunting great whites is banned, Australia years ago implemented restrictions on killing them. Now, the sharks that were saved as juveniles are adults: big, hungry adults.

“You just have this massive population of great white sharks,” Cairns said. “Everyone’s vibe will change really soon when someone gets killed.”

Cairns remembers visiting his hometown, Perth, Australia, where people would regularly swim and surf. But with the recent deaths in the region, he said people are afraid to get in the water.

“Someone gets bitten in half, it sort of cuts down on the enthusiasm,” he said.

In the wake of the two recent attacks, Australia’s Department of Fisheries patrolled waters and set up shark capture gear. After the first attack, which occurred near where a shark had injured a person a month earlier, officers trapped a great white.

The 14-foot shark died on the baited line, and its carcass was disposed of at sea after scientists took measurements and tissue samples, according to sharksmart.com.au, a government-sponsored website dedicated to shark news in Australia.

The government is considering reopening a shark fishery, shut down in 2007, and the regular use of baited drum lines to capture sharks.

Baited drum lines were used in the summer of 2014, but the tactic was stopped amid public outcry.

While some might argue that the tactic is pointless, Cairns compared it with eliminating a rogue mountain lion after it goes on a killing spree, saying authorities would be quick to kill the creature “as soon as it becomes a man-eater.”

“I love having a healthy marine environment. But is it healthy when one population grows so dramatically?” he said. “It’s out of balance.”

Decades ago, shark attacks prompted officials in Sydney to set up nets off the beach. They did the same in Durban and other areas of South Africa, Cairns said.

Some coastal areas in South Africa also have a shark flag system. A red flag means a shark has been spotted, but its exact whereabouts aren’t known. A white flag with a black shark means a shark has been spotted and remains close enough to make it unsafe for humans to be in the water.

At Réunion Island, a small French territory in the Indian Ocean, officials put a ban on surfing and swimming in 2013 after seven deaths in just a few years. The waters recently reopened after long nets were installed and underwater lookouts were trained to patrol the shark nets with harpoon guns.

The government also has set up “smart drum lines,” which send real-time information back to land.

Ninety bull and tiger sharks have been tagged in an attempt to track them, and the hope is that real-time tracking might someday produce instant alerts that could be issued when sharks approach beaches. Areas of Australia have started using similar technology.

Several shark-deterrent products have hit the market in response to the increase in attacks.

Sharkbanz uses what the company describes as “magnetic shark repellent technology” in a wristband it claims is an anti-shark device. More recently, the company (after teaming with Australian surf brand Modem) said it has developed a surfboard leash that issues an electromagnetic field that it says interferes with a shark’s electrical sense.

A Sharkbanz press release describes the process like this: “This interference reduces the risk of attack by causing inquisitive sharks to flee. The unpleasant experience for the shark is similar to a person suddenly shining a very bright light in another person’s eyes in a dark room.

“It’s important to note that Sharkbanz technology does not harm the shark or other nearby marine life.”

The cost of the product is $180. The press release notes that while the leash will reduce the risk of shark interactions, it doesn’t promise complete safety.

“(T)here is no 100 percent guarantee that interactions will not take place,” the release says.

Original Article:http://www.ocregister.com/articles/shark-719665-sharks-attacks.html

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10 Comments

  1. I live in Hawaii and when I was way younger in my 20’s I learned to spearfish.
    I got so, so excited at my first catch I would then after have to drink a twelve pack of beer just to calm down.
    I would put out so much energy that any other hunter – ( BIG TIGER SHARKS) in the water would feel my God given dominion over the them, the Lord Fishes.
    I wasn’t stupid, But I never feared.
    I realized now I could use the ocean as a life support not only for me and family but friends and neighbors as well.
    Visitors to the island and their regulatory mind purposed “Only catch what you can eat” – BULLSHIT.!
    I never, ever sold any fish, I kept enough for me and family and gave away to friends and neighbors.
    I would not limit my God given talent for sustenance.
    You have an acre of land would you plant only one mango tree?
    OK,….. anyway back to sharks.
    WE lost dominion over the land and sea and will never get it back.
    WE are the hunted and eaten, and then maybe even as sport?
    I dont believe in karma but Jesus Christ said you reap what you sow.
    WE kill the ocean the Lord Fishes kill us.
    WE kill the forest the animals kill us.
    It’s kinda fun isn’t is.
    yea right.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yea, I would only go at night by myself with a Pelican dive light and gear (no scuba).
    Kinda unfair as the fishes are all asleep, but Big Sharks never sleep.
    But that’s OK, I’m not prejudice they can be on the menu too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Funny story, Once upon a night dive after washing myself and my gear under a shower.
    an elderly coupled approached me and were curious at my catch so I showed them the different species and gave them the Hawaiian names.
    Then that sweet elderly lady asked me “Are there sharks out there”?
    My wit wanted to murmur under my breath ” nooooo,……… well actually they live in the mountains and come down to hunt and feed at night”
    But my respect to them politely answered “Yes Mam,……………. that’s where they live.”
    I knew that she meant the immediate area but the answer would still be “Yes”

    Like

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