Hawaii to study tiger sharks amid spike in attacks

Aug 21, 2013 by Oskar Garcia
Chairman William Aila of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, center, speaks to reporters at a news conference in Honolulu on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Hawaii officials plan to spend the next two years studying tiger shark movements around Maui amid what they call an unprecedented spike in overall shark attacks since the start of 2012. (AP Photo/Oskar Garcia)

Hawaii officials plan to spend the next two years studying tiger shark movements around Maui amid what they call an unprecedented spike in overall shark attacks since the start of 2012.

Chairman William Aila of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources said Tuesday that Hawaii waters are safe if are cautious. However, he said prevailing opinion is that there are more sharks and more people in Hawaiian waters, creating more chances for bites.

"We know that the impression is that there is an inordinate amount of shark attacks that have happened recently," Aila said. "We just want to make it clear that within the history of the state of Hawaii, the number of shark attacks have gone up, and they've gone down, and there have been some years we've actually had no .

There have been eight attacks statewide this year and 10 in 2012. Hawaii usually sees only three to four attacks each year, and saw one or zero attacks in 11 years between 1980 and 2012, according to state data.

A 20-year-old German tourist lost her arm in an attack last week as she snorkeled off the coast of Maui. Four days later, a 16-year-old surfer suffered injuries to both legs after a shark bite in waters off the Big Island. There have been four attacks in the last month, though it's not clear what type of shark was involved in each incident.

During a news conference, Aila said Hawaii doesn't know as much as it should about shark movements in waters around Maui and the Big Island. That's why it's planning a two-year study to tag and track , which will begin next month.

Dr. Carl Meyer, a with the University of Hawaii, said the study will focus on tiger sharks because they move around frequently and have been known to travel all around the islands' waters.

Meyer, who is leading the study, said tiger sharks can travel up to 100 miles in a day, don't stay in one area very long and can swim in very if they choose to.

Aila said the study will help determine if signs, closures or other measures are needed to minimize encounters between sharks and humans.

"We have to have empirical data" before taking action, Aila said.

Explore further: Dutch barnacle geese have more active immune system than same species in the North

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

2012 US shark attacks highest since 2000

Feb 11, 2013

Shark attacks in the U.S. reached a decade high in 2012, while worldwide fatalities remained average, according to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File report released today.

Australian firm launches 'anti-shark' wetsuits

Jul 18, 2013

An Australian research firm Thursday launched what is being touted as the world's first anti-shark wetsuit, using new discoveries about the predators' eyesight to stave off or evade an attack.

University's website lets you keep track of sharks

Aug 07, 2013

One tiger shark, affectionately known as Harry Lindo, swam an unprecedented 27,000 miles in three years. A couple of others, a tiger and a shortfin mako, dove 3,000 feet deep. Others thrashed through the seas at up to 60 ...

Recommended for you

Nature offers video of 10 cutest animals of 2014

6 hours ago

(Phys.org)—The journal Nature has released a video that ventures a bit from its traditional strictly-science approach to technical journalism—it's all about the cutest animal stories of the past year ( ...

Big data and the science of the Christmas tree

10 hours ago

Often called the "Cadillac of Christmas trees," the Fraser Fir has everything a good Christmas tree should have: an even triangular shape, a sweet piney fragrance, and soft needles that (mostly) stay attached ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.