Sharks Attacks: 9 ways to reduce your risk!

By March 13, 2013Ocean Solutions

Last year, shark attacks happened more often than they did in 2011. According to theĀ ISAF 2012 Worldwide Shark Attack Summary, eighty unprovoked attacks were registered worldwide. So we are still seeing the same pattern since 1900, with more sharks attacks every decade.

Australia and Reunion, where most shark attacks took place, the attacks were slightly over the average, with 14 and 3 attacks each, and in South Africa they registered 4 of them. But the highest number of attacks was in the U.S. (including Hawaii and Puerto Rico), with 53 attacks, the highest number since 2000. In 2011, they were only 39! But why is this happening? Are we provoking these attacks?

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The rising in this rate could have an easy explanation. Everyday, we spend more time at the sea, diving, swimming or doing any other kind of water sport, so we interact more often with sea animals, including sharks. For example, last year in 48 of the 80 attacks, surfers and others participating in board sports were involved. The increase could be due to the rising world population and maybe we are using some products that are shark-attracting ones. We have much more work to figure out our relationship with sharks, and nature in general.

The usual solution that people take when an attacks happens is to kill as many sharks as possible. That’s completely useless, because you are not likely to kill the shark that attacked someone and this shark is not likely to attack again. The only thing we can do is to try to avoid sharks attacks by being aware of our behaviour while in the Ocean.

They are just wild animals, predators that could mistake you as prey. So here you have some safety tips that will help you, and remind that it’s always useful to know the fauna of the place you’re going to!

1) Always stay in groups since sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.

2)Do not wander too far from shore — this isolates an individual and additionally places one far away from assistance.

3)Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight hours when sharks are most active and have a competitive sensory advantage.

4)Do not enter the water if bleeding from an open wound or if menstruating — a shark’s olfactory ability is acute.great-white-and-diver

5)Wearing shiny jewelry is discouraged because the reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales.

6)Refrain from excess splashing and do not allow pets in the water because their erratic movements can grab a sharks attention

7)Use extra caution when waters are murky and avoid uneven tanning and bright colored clothing — sharks see contrast particularly well.

8)If you spot a shark, don’t just swim quickly to try to get out of the water, but do it as smoothly as you can.

9)If you are attacked by a shark, don’t act passively! Hit its nose, and if it bites you, claw at its eyes and gills. They usually respect size and power, so they will tend leave you alone!

Do you think we are provoking the attacks with our behaviour? Is the only solution staying out of the water or are there other solutions? Let us know in the comment below!

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • I believe the reason why shark attacks are happening more often is because there are less food sources in the ocean, therefore sharks frequent more often in coastal waters to find a food source of some kind.

  • Andrew Lewin says:

    Interesting thought Jeff. I think sharks come in close because their preferred prey come in close to shore. For example, Great White Sharks prefer seals, which are commonly found hauled out along the shores of certain parts of Western Australia. The seals swim near the coast to feed, so it is not surprising to see Great White Sharks in the same vicinity.

  • Hector R. Leta says:

    Perhaps it will not modify statistics as sometimes sharks bite to find out how it tastes. Those are what I call courious bites. Which are very different of those feeding ones. Most of the times they bite floating logs, pieces of wood, foam, the hull of the boats and surf boards. In the stomach contents of sharks were recorded car plates, beer cans, plastic bottles, wheel covers and other objects made by humans.

  • Andrew Lewin says:

    Good point. I’ve heard of tiger sharks chomping on sea kayaks. I guess being an effective predator would mean a lot of experimentation. These bites could also be due to mistaken identity…at least some of them anyways.

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