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Teaching people when and where to swim (to avoid sharks), and are welcoming new visitors who don't know where sharks congregate. in shark attacks following a tourism boom that started in the s. "One of the problems at places like La Reunion, and any number of You'd Also Like Company.
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Many shark "attacks" on humans are really more like investigations, in which a shark bites a person before it has really figured out what it's looking at, then leaves to find better food. Thankfully, sharks also have other keen senses to complement their vision see below , so even these encounters are uncommon.

Still, if you're going into the ocean, it couldn't hurt to avoid clothes or accessories that might confuse sharks. Shiny jewelry or bedazzled swimsuits could attract unwanted attention, for example, because reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales in certain conditions. Burgess also warns of swimming in brightly colored clothes, or with an uneven tan or sunburn, since "sharks see contrast particularly well. Yet some swimwear is designed to get sharks' attention: By mimicking the colors of a venomous lionfish, it supposedly discourages sharks from seeing people as prey.

There is science behind this, although some experts have expressed skepticism. Other products claim to repel sharks in different ways — like electricity, magnets or noise — although none can guarantee safety, and some have been tested more rigorously than others.

How to Avoid a Shark Attack

For more details, check out this guide from Surfer Today. Blood can attract sharks, although they're pickier than many people think. Sharks have many ways of finding prey, including organs called ampullae of Lorenzini that sense bioelectric fields.

But perhaps their most famous superpower is their sense of smell, known for sniffing out tiny traces of blood in seawater. For maximum shark safety, the ISAF advises staying out of the ocean if you have a bleeding wound. That is probably a good idea, but it's also worth noting that a little human blood — whether from a minor injury or menstruation — is unlikely to spark much interest from sharks.

It won't lure them from miles away, despite a common myth , and even if a nearby shark does smell your blood, there's a good chance it won't bother you. Sharks don't just blindly chase down every whiff of blood they smell; their senses are acute enough to detect specific amino acids of their natural prey.

The lemon shark , for example, can detect tuna oil at one part per 25 million.

In case a shark attacks, here’s how you can fight back

And as shark expert Steve Kajiura told Vice in , we flatter ourselves by assuming sharks want to eat us. Places with lots of fishing activity can become beacons for sharks. Human blood may not excite sharks, but it's a different story when their preferred prey bleeds. And even if sharks are drawn to an area by specific fish odors, certain species could also end up biting a human who got caught in the frenzy. To prevent that kind of confusion, Burgess suggests avoiding waters where people are fishing, since accumulations of wild fish, bait fish and blood could attract sharks.

Cape Cod shark attack: Man dies from injuries suffered in incident

Stay on land "especially if there are signs of bait fishes or feeding activity," he writes. Splashing is typically harmless, but it could interest sharks in some situations. Even if you're far from crowds of fish, your behavior could still confuse a shark that happens to be nearby. Many sharks are instinctively intrigued by splashing, for example, which might lead them to injured prey. Of course, it's usually fine to splash at the beach, but it could be risky when combined with other risk factors, such as being in the ocean alone, at night, in shiny jewelry or in an area known for sharks.

Because the threat of sharks varies so from place to place and season to season, the ISAF's advice is just to "refrain from excess splashing," leaving it up to interpretation. Oceana also suggests staying vertical in deeper water , which it says "prevents you from looking like a seal and other larger prey. A blacktip reef shark swims amid coral off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The next step is to develop public education as a way to change the way we think about and use the ocean. However, I am not suggesting a brochure to reduce shark attacks. These are questions of science and society.

I have reviewed how people feel and what policies follow sharks bites. Here are three examples of steps governments can take to help people avoid shark attacks:. Looking at the ocean as the wild, which it is means making an informed choice about the risks we are taking based on our behaviour.

Facing the truth

Camping alone in the wilderness is dangerous, as is surfing, swimming or snorkeling. Until there is more scientific information on shark behavior, some beaches may be placed off limits by the government. In Recife Brazil, they have made surfing illegal at certain beaches because of the number of shark attacks.

Last week, the city of Chatham in Cape Cod, banned swimming within meters of seals. Secondly, state and local safety plans could identify water-user groups based on what they do, in what season they do it and how far out they go from shore. Individual strategies for surfers, snorkelers and scuba divers could be organized through community meetings and planning. Programs for swimmers are a project on their own, because changing behaviour at the beach includes educating both locals and tourists. Other water users, such as kayakers and kite surfers could be trained on what to do if they see a shark.

However, since many of us including me love the ocean, there may be things we can consider, to better inform our decision-making and governments can tell us more. Again, there is no perfect set of questions to determine when these events will occur because shark bite incidents happen at the convergence of four points involving: But there needs to be a starting point; more information on this is available from the International Shark Attack File. But for me, I look at 15 variables that include:. Has there been a storm, did it rain? Check to see if there is natural prey available in normal locations consider a different location if the local area is over-fished or if boats bring in fish and dump out waste.

How far out am I in the water closer to shore is better; avoid sand reefs, drop-offs, surf zones, and outer shelves. Check to see if I am near a coastal construction site, outfall or other attractants avoid areas with sewage, active fishing, or other waste. For example, it is often reported that you are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a shark.

This statistic is based on the number of incidents each year.

1. Don't provoke sharks.

However, anyone can be struck by lightning when there's a storm going through. Your chance of being attacked by a shark is zero if you live in Kansas and don't take a vacation on the coast. If you surf every day off the coast of Florida, the odds of a shark attacking you are much higher. This isn't to say that anyone who goes into the water should be terrified of sharks, but people who swim and surf in the ocean need to be aware that dangerous wild animals may be present.

Educating yourself about the risk factors for shark attacks can help you greatly reduce the chances of becoming a victim. These tips are not foolproof. There are plenty of instances where sharks attacked in defiance of all shark attack patterns. The best tip is to be alert and always swim, dive, or surf with a buddy.

Some attacks can't be prevented, but having someone nearby to call for help can save your life. If the worst does happen and you find yourself being attacked by a shark, what should you do? If possible, fight back. Despite their ferocity, sharks tend to be wimps. They don't like prey that can cause them harm.

How to Avoid a Shark Attack

Punching, kicking, stabbing and even head-butting are all ways attack victims have fought off sharks. The eyes are particularly sensitive. This kind of response seems to help the shark realize that whatever it just bit isn't its usual prey. Whenever there is a series of shark attacks, news stories are invariably accompanied by some statistical comparison that shows some unlikely method of dying is actually more likely than being attacked by a shark.

One that has cropped up repeatedly over the years is that more people are killed by falling coconuts every year than by sharks -- usually is the number cited. No reference is ever given for this statistic, and it's actually false.

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You may not be surprised to find out that no one issues annual reports of coconut deaths.