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State to study 'unprecedented spike' in shark attacks off Maui

By Star-Advertiser & Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:03 a.m. HST, Aug 21, 2013

State officials Tuesday announced a study of tiger shark movements around Maui, following several recent shark attacks and the critical injury of a 20-year-old woman from Germany.

“We’ve seen an unprecedented spike,” said William Aila Jr, chairman of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The two-year study is scheduled to begin in September and will examine the behavior of tiger sharks on Maui compared with the other main Hawaiian Islands, Aila said at a news conference this afternoon.

He said Hawaii waters are safe if swimmers are cautious. But he said prevailing opinion is that there are more sharks and more people in Hawaiian waters, creating more chances for bites. 

There have been eight attacks statewide this year and 10 in 2012. Hawaii usually sees three to four attacks each year.

A German tourist lost her arm in an attack last week as she snorkeled off the coast of Maui and was on life support at Maui Memorial Medical Center, officials said Monday. On Sunday, a 16-year-old surfer suffered injuries to both legs after a shark bite in waters off the Big Island.

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eoe wrote:
No need to study it, the coconut wireless already blames it on Maui Ocean center releasing crazed tiger sharks.
on August 20,2013 | 02:49PM
1local wrote:
banning of shark finning is responsible.
on August 20,2013 | 09:20PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
The Fukushima nuclear disaster has poisoned the food chain. The increased shark attacks are a result of that.
on August 20,2013 | 03:00PM
allie wrote:
Is their a sewer outlet nearby?
on August 20,2013 | 03:02PM
emagination808 wrote:
That depends on if you're in Maui and opening your mouth
on August 20,2013 | 03:14PM
eoe wrote:
on August 20,2013 | 03:47PM
Mythman wrote:
Yikes, giggle
on August 20,2013 | 05:21PM
false wrote:
Um, maybe the study needs to do a baseline count...of the number of bodies in the water August 2013, vs August 2003. And again vs August 1993, and August 1983 and August 1973. I bet the trend is telling. No brainer: more snacks, more snacking. On the other hand, if DLNR wants to throw money at a study, try throw some my way
on August 20,2013 | 03:17PM
dlum003 wrote:
Yes, its a conspiracy by local sharks to attack any and all humans in the water. They had a big meeting last month, which was well attended by the Marlins, turtles, and monk seals who all applauded heartily when the verdict was finally reached that all humans must be eaten. All the sharks brought study reports, photos, diagrams, and other anecdotal evidence that their are too many tourists and surfers crowding the inshore waters, and they needed to be culled. No doubt this "study" by this crack state team will help them present the human's case at the next sharks convention. The sharks have also commissioned a group to figure out how to pick locks on hotel doors so they can kill people in their guest rooms. I mean CAAAA'MON, what are they going to do? Shoot the ocean?
on August 20,2013 | 03:20PM
dsl wrote:
Study study study and our gevernment still gets it wrong!! Nuff spending on studies no help!!
on August 20,2013 | 03:22PM
augiepono wrote:
Simple math: 1)Ban on shark hunting = more sharks = more shark attacks.
on August 20,2013 | 03:28PM
Bothrops wrote:
Who is actually doing the study? DLNR? UH has a bunch of really good shark people.
on August 20,2013 | 03:28PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
UH is full of lousy shark lovers from the mainland who have never spent any significant time doing ocean sports and recreation, who glorify sharks and rather let them feed on humans than save human lives by thinning out the man eaters, like large tiger sharks, from the ocean for human safety. When Hawaii had a program of thinning out the big tiger sharks, after the death of Billy Weaver, there were virtually no shark attacks even though the sharks favorite food, turtles were scarce from over humans eating them.
on August 20,2013 | 04:16PM
editors wrote:
Funny how you fishermen are quick to accuse the state's restrictions against shark hunting but not really willing to look in the mirror to determine whether overfishing of big pelagics like ahi, ono and mahimahi might have something to do with sharks preying on humans.
on August 20,2013 | 04:45PM
bleedgreen wrote:
What tiger sharks eat. "Around the time they attain 2.3 m (7.5 ft), or near sexual maturity, their prey selection expands considerably and much larger animals become regular prey.[12] Numerous fish, crustaceans, sea birds, sea snakes,[13] marine mammals (e.g. bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins,[14] spotted dolphins,[15] dugongs, seals and sea lions), and sea turtles (including the three largest species: the green,[12] the leatherback turtle[16] and the loggerhead turtles[17]) are regularly eaten by adult tiger sharks."
on August 20,2013 | 05:38PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Editors, I'm a surfer NOT a fisherman. Are you a water man? Did you know that tiger sharks normally bite humans on surfboards or boogie boards because they mistake such humans for turtles? Did you see that I noted that shark attacks were non-existent despite the fact that the tiger sharks' favorite food, turtles, were scarce because turtles were an endangered species due to over fishing by man? I think that the answer to the foregoing questions is uniformly "NO." It's not over fishing of tiger sharks' food that are causing the increase in tiger shark attacks. It's the uncontrolled increase in the tiger shark population that is causing the increase in attacks by tiger sharks. Tiger sharks have no natural enemies that prey upon them, that is why humans need to thin them out in order to keep them in check.
on August 20,2013 | 06:45PM
8082062424 wrote:
well look at the 17 year old girl from the big island who swam the Kaiwi Channel. she had no problems with sharks. just to many people in the ocean and they do not pay atten,
on August 20,2013 | 04:46PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Did she swim in a shark cage like Keo Nakama did when he was the first one to swim the Molokai channel?
on August 20,2013 | 06:47PM
Slow wrote:
Pay attention? Has anyone ever been bitten because they were not paying attention? One long distance swim proves nothing. BTW she swam, according to the impeccably fact-checked SA, with a shark shield.
on August 20,2013 | 07:12PM
augiepono wrote:
Simple math: 2) More shark attacks = less tourist = slower economy = shark hunting restoration
on August 20,2013 | 03:30PM
mynah wrote:
The prohibition against harvesting sharks for shark fins has increased the shark population tremendously. This increase means there are more sharks out in he ecosystem and more hungry sharks causes them to scavage closer to shore, places where they would not otherwise hunt.. Yum yum.
on August 20,2013 | 03:44PM
syhud wrote:
Too much turtles out there. And you know how much sharks loves them!
on August 20,2013 | 03:45PM
Slow wrote:
I do not believe local fishermen were significantly reducing the number of sharks in near shore Hawaiian waters. Who buys sharks? Drawing conclusions from a statistically insignificant bump in shark bites leads to erroneous conclusions.
on August 20,2013 | 07:07PM
Bumby wrote:
Simple, eradication of sharks 8 feet or larger. Just look at history when a shark eradication program was implemented in the late 50' or early 60's minimizing the numbers and the size especially. All those who swam and surfed in island waters and who came across sharks were few and in between in the years from the 60's to early 80's. If sharks were seen many sighting were under 8 feet in size.
on August 20,2013 | 03:49PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Bum By, you are exactly right! I started surfing in the early 60s. At that time until about 10 yrs after the last shark eradication ended (it takes about 10 yrs.for a tiger shark to grow to about 8 ft. the length where they will attack humans) I surfed without fear of shark bites because there were virtually no shark attacks during that period of time. The major shark eradication program quietly started after Billy Weaver, son of either Spence or Cliff Weaver (owners of Spencecliff Restaurants) was bitten to death by a tiger shark at Sandy Beach when he was body surfing. That program was conducted by DLNR and lasted until about 1979. The other shark eradication program was when shark meat was used to make kamaboko, the fish cake that is used in saimin. That stopped in about 1968 because sharks, at the top of the food chain, accumulated too much mercury in their fat cells.
on August 20,2013 | 04:10PM
inverse wrote:
They did shark eradication in the 50's and 60's? They should do this now. Sounds about right to target sharks 8 ft or larger lingering near people dense Hawaii beaches and surf areas. Use the bang stick with the gun cartridge exploding in the shark brain for a quick, humane, bloodless kill, retrieve the shark body, take it to a secluded area to skin the shark to make drums for Hawaiian hula groups and give the meat and fin away for someone to eat. Don't make a big deal of hanging the dead shark in public for all to see. Do it quietly and behind the scenes. Do this BEFORE a surfer, snorkeler or swimmer gets killed from a shark attack.
on August 20,2013 | 04:20PM
8082062424 wrote:
so go out and kill sharks. the ocean is there home not ours. local groups will not go for this. you not even getting the shark who may have attacked some one. the problem is there more people in the water now then before. human skill to many things as it is
on August 20,2013 | 04:39PM
Bumby wrote:
I am not for an eradication program just saying look at history and those years after the eradication. That worked for us who frequented the water back then.
on August 20,2013 | 03:52PM
8082062424 wrote:
more info Read story: http://www.khon2.com/2013/08/20/state-to-study-shark-behavior-after-unprecedented-spike-in-incidents/
on August 20,2013 | 05:46PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Bum by, your hit the nail right on the head. When Hawaii had a program of thinning out man eating sized tiger sharks after the death of Billy Weaver, the son of either Spence or Cliff Weaver (owners of Spencecliff Restaurants) there were virtually no shark attacks on humans even though the sharks favorite food, turtles became scarce. Now turtles are plentiful yet shark attacks are increasing. Simple cause and effect indicates that the man eating shark thinning out program should be restarted.
on August 20,2013 | 04:21PM
goofyfoot808 wrote:
As long as the seal and turtle huggers push for more seals and turtles then Jaws, who have to eat too, will be in attacking surfers and swimmers.
on August 20,2013 | 04:59PM
usahwn wrote:
Just visualize a guy paddling on a surf board with four extremities looking as much like a turtle as possible; better yet if the underside is yellow. Yummy shark food. Maui turtle town has so much turtles cruising the shores at Makena and wailea. That population has built up so much since the ban on the "endangered " green turtle ; so has the shark population. Why use more tax dollars to hire people to do studies?
on August 20,2013 | 05:00PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Green sea turtles are being released into our isle waters in incredible numbers the past 10-15 years. They are a prime food for sharks. Hence the sharks come to our waters.
on August 20,2013 | 05:08PM
Hawaii_INTP wrote:
... or monk seals?
on August 20,2013 | 05:50PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Anyone calling for a shark-hunt and/or calling for a lifting of the ban on sharkfin hunting is simply out of their mind. Sharkfinning is some of the cruelest actions against marine life ever. And sharks have a right to eat (turtles) just like any other animal. And I say all of this and I'm not even a tree-hugger. Why don't we cull the population of humans at beaches/swimming offshore instead? They're just as much a "problem" to sharks as sharks are to us. This is nature pure and simple.
on August 20,2013 | 05:12PM
8082062424 wrote:
great post
on August 20,2013 | 05:46PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Hapa_Haole_Boy, I'm not calling for finning all sharks. I believe that we should thin out man eaters only, most notably in Haw'n waters, tiger sharks. We should not fin the tigers, just catch them how humans usually do, by long line fishing them. Then turning the tiger sharks into cat food. Prior to man's pollution of the ocean, tiger sharks were used to make kamaboko (fish cake), the stuff we put into saimin.
on August 20,2013 | 06:52PM
sluggah wrote:
Call me crazy, but thinning the population would make sense. I paddle the area in Makena regularly, and I'll see about 5-15 turtles every time. In addition, the area is pretty fished out, leaving the turtles and whatever looks sort of like a turtle to feed the increased shark population. A cull of the large animals is in order.
on August 20,2013 | 08:53PM
2bworker wrote:
Every consider the natural migratory pattern occuring and ocean/climate factors causing them to migrate sooner to the islands?. Consider the great white annually migrating to the Farrollon Island off San Francisco each year due to the seal population showing up. Today, off Stinson Beach, near SF, a great white was spotted offshore and the beach is now closed until Saturday. Nature takes care of itself. Go into the water, just know the risk is a little higher right now.
on August 20,2013 | 05:55PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Bubby and inverse, we should honor Billy Weaver, a nice local boy from Kailua who was killed from a tiger shark attack at Sandy Beach while body surfing, and re-institute the program of thinning out man eating sized tiger sharks. This shark fishing program was instituted becaue of Billy's death in the 50s and it worked well. During the program's existence ther were virtually no shark attacks. About 10 yrs. after the program ended, just about the amount of time it takes a tiger shark to grow to man eating size, the shark attacks started up again.
on August 20,2013 | 07:11PM
wn wrote:
There is an inherent risk when a creature (human) enters into the world other than their "own" (in this case the ocean). Assuming this risk is at the discretion of the individual, hence individual assumes responsibility. It would be a shame to fault the inhabitants of the ocean for our intrusion into their world. Regarding the 2 year study, I cannot agree to spend taxpayer's money on a study on the shark attacks. Maybe the State should take some of the tourism budget and spend it on ocean safety (tourist and local). Just a simple reminder that there is a risk involved with ocean activities. While were on that subject, how about educating same on taking precaution on high risk hiking behavior like going off on unmarked trails and getting stuck on a ledge overnight? Perhaps this type of publicity is to be avoided to prevent casting a bad light on our tourism business...nah...
on August 20,2013 | 07:30PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Simple, the sharks are hungry!
on August 20,2013 | 08:28PM
aaronavilla wrote:
The Superferry would have kept these rogue sharks at bay!
on August 20,2013 | 11:10PM
64hoo wrote:
when the news reports these attacks it seems they say the water was murky and maybe dirty stay out of the water when it looks like that.
on August 20,2013 | 11:59PM
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