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Shark Stats Science

Scientists Look For Patterns In North Carolina Shark Attacks 92

HughPickens.com writes: The Washington Post reports that there have been seven recent shark attacks in North Carolina. Scientists are looking for what might be luring the usually shy sharks so close to shore and among the swimmers they usually avoid. It's an unusual number of attacks for a state that recorded 25 attacks between 2005 and 2014. Even with the recent incidents, researchers emphasize that sharks are a very low-level threat to humans, compared with other forms of wildlife. Bees, for example, are much more dangerous. And swimming itself is hazardous even without sharks around.

George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History, speculates that several environmental factors could be pushing sharks to congregate in the Outer Banks. It is a warm year, and the water has a higher level of salinity because of a low-level drought in the area. Also, a common species of forage fish — menhaden — has been abundant this year and might have attracted more sharks to the area. Burgess also says some fishermen put bait in the water near piers, which could lure the predators closer to shore; two of the encounters took place within 100 yards of a pier. "That's a formula for shark attacks," Burgess says of these conditions, taken together. "Now, does that explain seven attacks in three weeks? No, it doesn't."
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Scientists Look For Patterns In North Carolina Shark Attacks

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  • The pattern... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Swim with sharks get eaten, simple.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sharks live in the water. When people swim in the water, there is a small chance they may be bitten by sharks.

    A shark bite will prompt media morons and politicians suffering from brainpower deficit disorder to go into hysteria overdrive. This means that a dozen shark attacks will get more attention than 10,000 people dying from inadequate healthcare services per day in North Carolina or hundreds of thousands of people dying in other countries due to natural disasters and wars.

    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Sunday July 05, 2015 @09:00AM (#50047515)
      Most folks understand that the risk of shark bite is very small. They continue to swim even with the media reports. But when there a multiple shark bites in a relatively small area in a short period of time, and those bites resulted in very serious injuries, it is only natural for a person in that area to hesitate to let their kids in the water. In that case, there helps to be some re-assurance that it is an anomaly or a spike caused by some temporary environmental change, rather than a trend. So it is good that the media is also reporting various attempts to explain the spike.

      Shark bites get media attention because that is what people want to read about. Don't just blame the media.
    • Shark bites get attention because sharks are rather terrifying to most people (especially if they've seen Jaws). Yes, you can die from bee or wasp stings, but that doesn't induce raw, primal fear like a shark. The thought of plunging to your death in an airline accident is terrifying to most people, even though you're far more likely to die in a car accident. The notion of a child being abducted by a stranger is a parent's worst nightmare, yet it's more likely to happen by a close friend or relative.

      You

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 05, 2015 @05:39AM (#50047131)

    All that toilet flushed cannabis has to end up somewhere.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Sunday July 05, 2015 @05:57AM (#50047175)
    it's your go-to for funds.
  • Shark curiosity (Score:4, Informative)

    by thisisauniqueid ( 825395 ) on Sunday July 05, 2015 @06:09AM (#50047203)
    A lot of times a shark will bite something just because it's curious, like how a dog will sniff something and then pick it up in its mouth.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      A shark does not play with it food, that stupid meme is a stupid meme. Consider the learning exercise, you are born into a sea with no help or guidance, just genetic guidance about likely edible and inedible flavours in the sea you swim in as well as specific trial and error testing method for food sources. So safe trial and error method, be wary, approach target carefully see what it does, hmm, not much. So swing around again and bite, not a too small bite, else target will escape, not a too big because t

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      A shark does not play with it food, that stupid meme is a stupid meme. Consider the learning exercise, you are born into a sea with no help or guidance, just genetic guidance about likely edible and inedible flavours in the sea you swim in as well as specific trial and error testing method for food sources. So safe trial and error method, be wary, approach target carefully see what it does, hmm, not much. So swing around again and bite, not a too small bite, else target will escape, not a too big because t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 05, 2015 @06:16AM (#50047219)

    A shark attack needs a shark and a person. Researching what the sharks are doing differently is fine but it will never be the full picture unless you look at what humans are doing differently too.

    It's a hot year as stated; Are more humans swimming than previous years there? Are they swimming at earlier times or later times than usual? I'd bet that even if sharks have abnormal behavior this year that humans do as well.

  • Its obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Sunday July 05, 2015 @06:20AM (#50047225)

    Its shark week

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Its shark week

      In Canada, we have a daily (normally M-F) newsmagazine show called Daily Planet and for Shark Week (which does start today, Sunday, so they did a special episode) they're doing shark themed segments.

      The first segment is interestingly all about this research.

      (Coincidentally I turned on Daily Planet just before visiting /.).

  • Overfishing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Sunday July 05, 2015 @07:40AM (#50047359)

    Overfishing. Combined with the fact that sharks have to eat something.

  • Sharks usually kill a dozen or so people every year. Meanwhile Humans kill around 100 million sharks per year [huffingtonpost.com] . Shark scientists are researching the question, "WTF, humans?" Some sharks speculate that it's because humans are assholes.

  • George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History, speculates that several environmental factors could be pushing sharks to congregate in the Outer Banks. It is a warm year, and the water has a higher level of salinity because of a low-level drought in the area. Also, a common species of forage fish — menhaden — has been abundant this year and might have attracted more sharks to the area. Burgess also says some fisher

  • I'm surprised no one looked into Shark fishing from piers and shores as a possible cause of the Shark attacks.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/shark... [go.com]

    There are many other articles. It makes sense to me. If you lure sharks closer to the shore by throwing dead meat in the ocean then yeah they are probably going to attack swimmers. This is why some districts ban this. It clearly locates their feeding area (or their perception of it) closer to where legs are dangling in the ocean.

    Why do people make things complicated?

  • Quoted (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 05, 2015 @09:21AM (#50047561)

    "As a commercial fisherman of 38 years, a shark fisherman virtually from it's inception in the mid eighties, and HMS a.p. member and a IAC technical advisor on sharks, if you actually want the scoop on the health of the shark populations in this country please don't expect to hear it from the apologist such as George Burgesses (shark attack file), Bob Hueter's (Mote Marine lab) or even the NMFS since the truth is in short supply. If you believe their line it is because of more people are in the water, or more bait fish, or hotter water, or even more turtles in the water (a favorite food of sharks) yet fishermen are being shut down because others say there are less. The inconvenient truth to the increased shark interactions is that it is simply all about the increase in sharks... Don't believe me? Check out the agencies Coastal Shark Survey: http://na.nefsc.noaa.gov/shark....
    If you are not interested in googling it i will quote a few paragraphs . "
    "The first systematic survey of Atlantic sharks , conducted by the Apex Predator Program in the summer of 1986 (or about the time the shark fishery got it's start). "We caught and tagged more sharks in the 2012 survey than at any previous survey said Natanson, who has been on all but one of the surveys. The previous high was in 2009 when we caught 1676 sharks and tagged 1352. In addition to the numerous sandbar sharks, (the main focus of the former shark fishery), we caught more Dusky (the main reason the shark fishery has essentially been eliminated) tiger and black tip than in any prior survey.
    As a followup to the two most recent surveys, i happened to be offshore fishing recently when Scotty on the Eagle Eye 2 was on his way by conducting the 2015 survey. Unfortunately even thought the numbers are not yet posted, in acquainting myself with the captain over the radio and making him aware of my interest in the numbers he was seeing, he confided that this survey was going to blow the numbers of the previous two away......in other words simply.....more than EVER.
    Finally If you decide that after watching "shark week" they are as lovable as Bambi or Flipper, and believe that you are more likely to be struck by lightening this week then dive in. As not only a fisherman that is no longer allowed to target sharks and hasn't been since 2002, as a surfer that is nervous any time the swell comes up and also a oceanfront motel owner that is concerned as a businessman......you simply be the judge...."

  • Factory ships (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrKaos ( 858439 )
    All you have to do is look at the Factory ships [slashdot.org] and ask yourself just how much fish is left for the sharks to eat. Do we really need a scientific study to tell us that if there is no food for the sharks to eat they will try to survive on whatever they can find in the water.

    Meanwhile the factory ship goes on destroying more in its by-catch leaving a corridor of nothing behind. Of course the solution will be to kill the remaining sharks and let the fucktory ships go about their business.

    We are clearly a r

  • You go in the water. Shark's in the water. Our shark.

    Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain. For we've received orders for to sail back to Boston. And so nevermore shall we see you again.

  • Most articles I've read about this point out that the risk to any given swimmer is still extremely low. We all know that humans are bad at weighting risks from very low-probability but high-horror events.

    By the same token, though, the risk to any given golfer out on a course during a thunderstorm is pretty low -- but nearly everybody agrees that going out on a large, open expanse and holding a metal stick over your head during a thunderstorm is kind of stupid.

    I can't say that I blame people for deciding to

  • The movie takes place in the Northeastern U.S. but nobody heeded the warnings.

  • Find the jackass playing the cello on the beach and arrest him.

  • Sharks eat mammals with lots of blubber and North Carolinians are as tasty as a big seal.

  • by smoore ( 25406 )

    The word bees isn't even in the article linked.

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