Think Tanks on Shark Attacks

Beach towns join to minimize number of attacks

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The recent shark attacks off North Carolina have mobilized beach towns nationwide to come up with an approach to minimize the number of shark attacks on surfers and swimmers in summer this year, especially during the holiday season.  Although officials are reluctant to close beaches, acknowledging the impact this may have on the local community, they are closely monitoring the situation.

Chris Brewster, chairman of the California-based United States Lifesaving Association, said the decision to close beaches or issue warnings often comes down to the behavior of the sharks. If the sharks are exhibiting any unusual behaviors such as congregating close to shore or hanging out in areas they typically aren’t seen, then closing a beach and issuing warnings might be a good idea, he said.

“It is all pretty logical stuff. Everyone needs to accept the reality that it is the ocean and sharks live in the ocean. Your chance of actually getting bitten by a shark is infinitesimal. It is reasonable to be prudent, but it is not reasonable to be so anxious that you stay out of the water,” Brewster said.

The attacks in North Caroline are thought to be caused by a high number of shark bulls in the water, trying to catch sea turtles.  Not all shark bites are deadly or cause significant injury.  In Florida, over 90% of bites are minor and can be treated at the scene – it is felt that these bites are caused by sharks going after bait fish.

This further acknowledges Brewster’s quote that we do need to be realistic and accept that creatures live in the ocean.  As surfers we must acknowledge this and need to find a balance and a way to stay safe while still getting maximum opportunity to ride the waves..…. take the opportunity to work on the tan if everyone is called from the water – stay safe.

Read the full story in the Orlando Sentinel