Shark Attacks Increase…

…maybe as retaliation for killing them off. The last estimate of 71 in 2007 compared to 63 in 2006, continues a four year increase. One of those 71 occurred not 5 minutes from my house. The latest in 2008

An Austrian tourist died on Monday after a shark attack in the waters between Fort Lauderdale and the Bahamas. Markus Groh was out on a shark-spotting trip with Scuba Adventures, which sails seven-day live-aboard cruises out of Riviera Beach, Florida. Unlike some tour operators, Scuba Adventures doesn’t send its divers under in a cage.

From the dive community the reaction is mixed

Critics of shark-diving contend interacting with the predators leads them to associate humans with food, potentially leading to more attacks. When the practice was outlawed in Florida about seven years ago, it forced those who wanted the up-close experience to find new places to go. Despite the risks, avid divers are quick to point out that attacks are uncommon, and deadly attacks are virtually unheard of.

My only encounter with a shark, and one I will not easily forget, occurred while diving was off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The question left to you is what are the costs and benefits of diving with sharks? How does the rarity of shark attack compare to potential reverence for these species.

Dr. M (1629 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





6 comments on “Shark Attacks Increase…
  1. I’d go diving with em…but:

    1. no chumming. That’s like taunting them. Its not fair to them and dangerous to me.

    2. Cage plz for things that might be inclined to take a sizeable nibble from me. Y’know, just a taste “food or not food?”

    I don’t think its for everyone either. And sometimes I’m pretty sure we owe em a few for the numbers of them we’ve taken.

  2. I’ve been around enough makos on deck to get a sense that some of them are looking for just the right moment to get a taste of revenge… I’m just fine not diving with most of them, and certainly not taunting with fish parts those I’m okay with hanging around.

    On a side note, this guy was more on the Bahamian side than ours. As a Broward county resident, why does the media keep saying that he was diving off Ft. Lauderdale?

  3. The guy was a lawyer, too.

    The comment section at the Globe & Mail have re-affirmed my trust in humanity’s ability to make bad jokes out of anything.

  4. The ethic embodied in the phrase “A fed animal is a dead animal” has been long accepted by land lubbers. Why this wisdom is constantly left on the dock is something I will never understand. Creating an association between humans and food in the mind of any creature is just plain stupid. Who here would stand in a field strewn with animal carcasses just to get close to a bear or an crocodile?

    If a tour operator attempted this on land the operator would be shut down and charged.

  5. Baiting sharks for tourist diving is WRONG. It should only be done for scientific study (as with great whites).

    Feeding wild animals is wrong (though I admit to a birdfeeder).

    If you want to see sharks eating and congregating, go swim at the inlet at New Smyrna in Florida.

    Over-reaction to shark bites and attacks is ridiculous. Hawaii had an incident where fisherman went bonkers killing sharks in order to get the “guilty” one messing up the food chain. Your first linked article makes the few incidents obvious vs. population.

    I wish Steve Irwin didn’t die because he was showing how sharks were mutilated and thrown back into the ocean.

    I can’t help rooting for the sharks, as mean as that sounds. They’re simply doing their thing and often bite to check out how the “food” tastes and then go away.

    Argh…humans.

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