Attackers are terrorist, ex-boyfriend, Big bosses…
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Originally published in Blog Imensidão – Jornal O Globo On Line
The website UnderWaterTimes.com published a text commenting on the article “Science, policy, and the public discourse of shark“ attack ”: a proposal for reclassifying human – shark interactions”. Download the article here.
Adding information to what has been exposed, shark attacks on humans are not a recent phenomenon. The earliest records date back to Ancient Greece, around 500 BC More recently, despite the impact of fishing on shark populations, the world is tending to the more intense recreational use of marine waters, which has increased the chances of interactions between humans and sharks and resulted in an increase in the total number of attacks. After World War II there was a gradual expansion of attacks, in addition to their military relevance as they were related to air and maritime disasters during the war, causing the US Office of Naval Research to establish an Archive. International Shark Attack, in 1958. Currently, this file is deposited at the Florida Museum of Natural History, at the University of Florida, under the care of the American Elasmobranch Society (Hazin et al.,2008).
In the study, the authors analyzed statistics for sharks around the planet and realized that the expression “shark attack” was misleading in several cases. For example, a 2009 government report from New South Wales, Australia, documented 200 shark attacks – however, 38 of these did not involve injury to people. In Florida, often referred to as the “Shark Attack Capital of the World” due to the number of reported shark attacks, only 11 fatal bites have been recorded in the past 129 years – less than many other locations in the world and infinitely less than deaths caused by other natural events, such as drowning and lightning (UnderWaterTimes.com).
A possible cause for the outbreak of shark attacks may have been the construction of port facilities, the Port of Suape, located south of Recife and in the estuary of the Rio Jaboatão. Port areas are generally known to have an increased risk of shark attacks. Before construction, four rivers converged on Suape Bay. After the construction of the port was completed, two rivers had their connections to the sea interrupted by landfills, which resulted in periodic flooding of agricultural fields. To solve this problem, the government demolished part of the coral reef. This measure relieved flooding, but it had an effect on accessibility for sharks, as the opening was too small and narrow to allow them to go from the sea to these two rivers. Although the construction of the port only began in 1980, the first major influx of ships did not begin until 1989-1991. From 1998 to 2008, the number of vessels tripled. That
intensification of maritime traffic may have influenced the occurrence of shark attacks, since these animals are known to follow ships (Hazin et al., 2008).
Baldridge, H.D. 1974. Shark Attack: A Program of Data Reduction and Analysis. Contributions from the Mote Marine Laboratory Volume 1, Number 2. Alle Press, Inc. Sarasota, Estados Unidos.
Bres, M. 1993. The behaviour of sharks. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 3, 133-159
Hazin, F.H.V., Burgess, G.H. & Carvalho, F.C. 2008. A Shark attack outbreak off Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil: 1992–2006. Bulletin of Marine Science, 82(2): 199–212.
Neff, C. & Hueter, R. 2013. Science, policy, and the public discourse of shark “attack”: a proposal for reclassifying
human–shark interactions. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.