Archive for June, 2008

Jun 04 2008

Seeing Sharks, La Nina and Tagging Sharks in Mexico

Published by under Mexico,Sharks

OK, I promise I’ll get back to surf travel related posts, just one more shark post…

If you wondering whether all the shark-attack hysteria has had an effect on your psychology, it probably has. Beach goers have called in 50-70 shark sightings to lifeguards in San Diego since the April fatal attack on a swimmer in Solano Beach. Compare that with 1-2 reported sightings in the previous 15 years!!! A group of surfers reported seeing a shark last week by 11th street, but lifeguards could not confirm that there was a shark in the area.

Scientists are speculating [link and video] that the recent surge in shark attacks in Mexico are due to La Nina, a weather patterns that results in cooler water in the Pacific. La Nina also causes the boundary of cooler/warmer water to be closer to shore which may be why so many more sharks are in and around the beaches of Zihuatanejo.

Local official in Zihuatanejo have started a study expected to last a year where they will be tagging hundreds of sharks and tracking the sharks via electronic radio device [Reuters link]. Biologists running the study will also also local fisherman to report back on any sightings, catches, or encounters with tagged sharks. Smaller sharks will be tagged with telemetric tags that reports location via radio emitting tag. This is a welcome change in their original response to the fatal shark attack in April where local authorities hunted and killed sharks in the area.

It’s good to see Mexico engaging in a thoughtful and well-design study that will provide useful data for the area and for science in general. Their initial response of hunting and killing sharks was short-sighted and ultimately back-fired as there were two additional attacks after the hunt.

Shark Tag

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