Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to Prevent a Shark Attack, Jennifer Kennedy

Australian Geographic notes that t
here have been 873 shark attacks in Australia since records began in 1791, 211 of which have been fatal.  See webpage with excellent diagram here 

With her permission please find the following interesting article by Jennifer Kennedy on shark attacks with a few insights for those whose fears exceed the danger and some for those whose don't.

Photo courtesy of Tony Isaacson, Fiji

How to Prevent a Shark Attack

By Jennifer Kennedy, Guide

Even though you're more likely to die from a lightning strike, alligator attack or on a bicycle than from a shark attack, sharks do sometimes bite humans. According to the International Shark Attack File there were 79 cases of unprovoked shark attacks worldwide in 2010. The top 3 attacking shark species were the white, tiger and bull sharks.

There are many ways (most of them common-sense) that you can avoid a shark attack. Below is a list of what not to do if you'll be swimming in waters where sharks might be present, and techniques for getting away alive if a shark attack really does happen.

What Not to Do:

·                    Don't swim alone.
·                    Don't swim during dark or twilight hours.
·                    Don't swim with shiny jewelry.
·                    Don't swim if you have an open wound.
·                    Don't swim too far offshore.
·                    Ladies: don't swim if you're menstuating.
·                    Don't splash excessively or make erratic movements.
·                    Keep pets out of the water.
·                    Don't swim in areas where there are sewage (for other obvious reasons!) or pinnipeds     
           [seals or sealions] that are hauled-out. Both areas can attract sharks.
·                    Don't swim in areas being used by fishermen, as their bait could attract sharks.
·                    Don't push your luck - never harass a shark. Get out of the water if one is spotted.

What to Do If You're Attacked:

Let's hope you've followed the advice above and successfully avoided an attack. But what do you do if you suspect a shark's in the area or are being attacked?
·                    If you feel something brush against you, get out of the water. According to an article from National Geographic, many shark bite victims don't feel any pain. And sharks may strike more than once.

·                    If you are attacked, the rule described here is "do whatever it takes to get away." Possibilities include yelling underwater, blowing bubbles, and punching the shark's nose, eye or gills and then leaving the area before the shark strikes again.

References and Additional Information:

·                    Burgess, George H. 2011. ISAF Statistics on Attacking Species of Shark. (Online). FL Museum of Natural History. Accessed January 30, 2012.
·                    Burgess, George H. 2009. ISAF 2008 Worldwide Shark Attack Summary (Online). FL Museum of Natural History. Accessed February 5, 2010.
·                    Burgess, George H. 1998. Just for Kids: How to Avoid a Shark Attack Reprinted with permission from The Kids' How to Do (Almost) Everything Guide, Monday Morning Books, Palo Alto, California. Accessed February 5, 2010.
·                    ISAF. 2009. International Shark Attack File. (Online). FL Museum of Natural History. Accessed February 5, 2010.
·                    Popular Mechanics. 2009. Survive Anything: How to Escape a Shark Attack. (Online) Popular Mechanics. Accessed February 5, 2010.
Shark Facts
·                    10 Facts About Sharks
·                    Great White Shark Profile
·                    What is the World's Largest Shark?
Shark Conservatoin
·                    Shark Conservation Act of 2009
·                    What Is Shark Finning?
More About Shark Attacks
·                    How to Avoid Sharks (Florida GuideSite)
Related Articles
·                    Florida Wildlife: Sharks
·                    Dangerous Creatures: Watch Out for the Aussie Nasties
·                    Tourist Attacked by Shark in Florida
·                    Beach Safety: Playing It Safe on Australian Beaches

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