Shark strikes in northeastern US: increase explained

But Long Island in New York as well as Cape Cod, Massachusetts Peninsulawhere many of the recent suspects Have you had encounters with sharks, experienced something exceptional? Yes and no, according to Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Shark Research Program at the University of Florida at Gainesville.

Globally, the number of shark attacks is at the same level as in previous years, Naylor said. curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History, but there are indications that there could be a resurgence along the northeast coast of the United States.

“We are on trend for this time of year. I think globally we usually get 70 to 80 unprovoked shark bites around the world. But this is a global phenomenon. And it spreads unevenly,” Naylor explained.

“In one year, we might have two or three bites in Hawaii in quick succession. Next year it could be New Caledonia, it could be Western Australia. And this year it will be off the coast of Long Island.”

Naylor has so far declined to release data for the current year, saying it takes time to investigate and confirm reported bites. (Nailor’s work at the Florida Museum of Natural History includes tracking shark attack data.) Last year there were 73 confirmed unprovoked cases shark bites, in line with a five-year average of 72 incidents per year. However, there were 11 shark-related deaths, compared to an annual average of five.

Fish, not people

Sharks that are swimmers Naylor explained that they ran into Long Island looking for food, not people. Most of them Identified as sand tiger sharks, which, while intimidating, are not considered aggressive, according to Naylor. They probably entered the coastal waters to hunt for numerous shoals of bait near the coast.

He explained that the shoals have been especially dense this year due to warm ocean currents that separate from the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean and extend up the northeast coast. These waters are richer in chlorophyll, which allows plankton to bloom, which also attracts bait.

“These baits gather in flocks of hundreds of thousands or even millions,” Naylor said, “and when they get very close to the shore, the sharks follow them.

“Sharks swim around trying to catch their lunch. People are swimming around splashing around with beach balls in their circle… The surf area gets pretty dark with all the energy and all the sharks are ringing because they are happy to see all that food – they make a mistake every now and then.”

Shark attacks are back in the news, but many other phenomena are much more dangerous.
Exacerbating the problem is the nursery of sand tiger sharks, discovered in 2016, near the coast waters of Long Island’s Great South, where sharks ranging in age from a few months to 5 years old feed and grow. (According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, sharks are born off the southeast coast of the United States and then migrate north and spend summers in New York waters before returning south again in the fall.)

Unlike adult sand tiger sharks, which are up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) long, 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) long juveniles can come closer to shore to chase fish.

“As you can imagine, it’s the same with any mammal: the young ones are not as experienced. They don’t have as many pattern recognition skills as adults,” Naylor said. “We strongly suspect that these are juveniles, their judgment and discrimination of what is someone’s leg and what is the shimmer of the scales of a bony fish.

“You have a bunch of juvenile sharks and they’re running around chasing fish.”

A great white shark swims about 164 feet (50 meters) off the coast of Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts on July 15.

Excellent white

Off the coast of Cape Cod, where a number of great white sharks have been spotted this summer, a different dynamic has been seen, leading to the closure of at least one beach. Naylor said there were no reports of shark bites to his knowledge.

During the summer and fall, white sharks hunt seals – their favorite prey – along the region’s coastline, which can bring them closer to popular beaches. Based on tagging data from 14 sharks, study published last year in the journal Wildlife Research found that they spent almost half of their time at depths of 15 feet (4.6 meters) or less. This means that there is a high probability of their presence in recreational waters frequented by swimmers and surfers.

“Until now, we didn’t know how much time they spent in shallow water close to shore,” lead author Megan Winton, a researcher at the Atlantic White Shark Sanctuary, said in a news release last year. North Chatham, Massachusetts non-profit organization provides funding and resources for scientific research to improve public safety.

The real reason great white sharks bite people
population of great white sharks off Cape Cod increased along with the local seal population, which recovered in the decades following the passage of the Marine Animal Protection Act of 1972.

This is the only place in the Atlantic Ocean where white sharks congregate. To date, researchers have identified and tagged about 300 white sharks, but there is no official population estimate yet.

Since 2012, there have been four unprovoked white shark attacks on humans along the coast of Cape Cod. including one fatal attack in 2018first in Massachusetts since 1936.

Regardless of the type of shark, the protection measures are the same, Naylor said: don’t swim or surf alone, and don’t swim near large schools of fish or if you spot seals nearby. Don’t wear jewelry in the water that a shark might confuse with the shimmer of fish scales. If you spot a shark, get out of the water slowly. Don’t panic and don’t spray.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *