Shark Research Committee
22. January 2015
Pacific Coast Shark Attacks During 2014
There were 6 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks on humans reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2014. All of the attacks were recorded from California. The attacks were distributed in the following months; July (1), October (4) and December (1). Activities of the victims were; 3 Surfing, 2 Kayaking, and 1 Outrigger. The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified or highly suspect in all 6 unprovoked attacks. Only two individual’s sustained physical injury, both were surfing. These incidents will be treated in greater detail in the Year-End SRC Newsletter. The boat incident in November in Central California is not considered in this analysis due to the activity of fishing, which might have attracted the shark to the vessel.
The publication “Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century” authenticated 108 unprovoked shark attacks from the Pacific Coast between 1900 and 1999. The Great White Shark was implicated in 94 (87%) of the 108 confirmed attacks with an annual average of slightly more than one shark attack per year. The 6 cases reported for 2014 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occurring along the Pacific Coast during the 21 st Century to 83. This is ‘three times’ the Twentieth Century annual average of slightly more than 2 shark attack per year during the period 1950 – 1999. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 73 (88%) of the 83 attacks recorded during the 21 st Century. From 2000 to the present, 42 (51%) of the 83 confirmed attacks occurred during the three month period of August (12), September (9), and October (21). There have been 191 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America from 1900 to 2014. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 167 (87%) of the 191 cases. There were 8 fatal shark attacks confirmed from 1900 to 1999 and 5 fatal attacks reported from 2000 to 2013. The 13 fatal attacks represent 7% of the 191 total cases.
Victim activity for the 83 shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast since 2000 are distributed in the following ocean user groups; surfers 54 (65%) of the documented attacks, with 6 swimmers (7%), 11 kayakers (13%), 4 divers (5%), 4 paddle boarders (5%), 1 windsurfer (1%), 1 fishing (1%), 1 outrigger (1%) and 1 boogie boarder (1%). The number of shark-bitten stranded marine mammals reported in 2014 was slightly less than the prior year, especially in Santa Barbara County. This artifact might not necessarily be the result of a decrease in the number of sharks or pinnipeds but rather fewer individuals reporting these events to recognized organizations or individuals. The Shark Research Committee will continue to closely monitor these activities.
Source: Shark Research Committee
City of Busselton
14. January 2015
Plans for Second Beach Enclosure Progress
Planning for the installation of a second beach enclosure in the City of Busselton is ongoing.
The popular Busselton Foreshore has been identified as the site for this second enclosure which is being funded by the State Government as part of its shark mitigation strategy. The enclosure, as planned, will encompass the swim jetties, the stinger net and the first 205m of the Busselton Jetty (just past the first platform).
Director of Engineering and Works at the City of Busselton, Oliver Darby said that installation of this second enclosure presents more challenges than the first structure which is located at the Old Dunsborough Beach and is now in its second season of operation.
“We consider the Busselton Foreshore a good location for an additional enclosure. However, there are a couple of issues associated with this location that require further investigation. Additionally the tender process has not provided the desired outcome due to materials supply.
The City has been given an extension time to the grant agreement. Effectively this extension provides us with the opportunity to revisit the suppliers with the aim of securing competitively priced materials. It also allows us time to resolve some of the issues specifically relating to the location of the enclosure.”
The City has, therefore, adopted an amended timeline for the delivery of this project. The intention is to have the enclosure installed and operational prior to the 2015 end-of-year summer holiday season.
“We are taking a practical approach,” said Mr Darby. “Given the issues with the tender process and the fact that the current summer season is drawing to an end, it makes better financial and operational sense to deploy the enclosure prior to next summer. This does not present a significant problem as aerial surveillance of the Busselton Foreshore is being undertaken on a regular basis.”
Source: City of Busselton
Newcastle City Council
16. January 2015
Alert – All Newcastle beaches to remain closed over the weekend
All Newcastle beaches will remain closed this weekend, Saturday and Sunday 17 and 18 January, in the interest of community safety with continued sightings of two sharks in Newcastle waters today. We have also been informed that Lake Macquarie Council will keep Redhead Beach closed over the weekend.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes asks everyone in the community to observe the closings and stay out of the water this weekend.
“We have a serious risk to public safety right now,” said the Lord Mayor, “ and Council lifeguards are working long hours trying to make sure everyone is aware of the warning and keep them safe. We know that we have at least two sharks currently inhabiting the waters right off our beaches, a very large 5 metre Great White, and another shark that is about three and a half metres. These sharks have been sighted as recently as Friday morning and were sighted on Thursday afternoon just beyond the surf line at Burwood and Merewether beaches, which is just too close to take the risk of swimming or surfing at this time.”
“We know for certain that everyone will stay safe if we all stay out of the water until the sharks decide to move on. We continue to monitor the situation and will make everyone aware when there is any change or any updates to report.”
“We know it’s hard for people to stay away from the beaches—it’s the weekend, it’s hot, it’s still the school holidays and we all want something fun and cool to do. I want to remind everyone that we still have a variety of ways to have fun and cool off. If you want a salt water swim, head down to Newcastle or Merewether Ocean Baths, or you can choose to take a dip at one of our inland pools. There’s also indoor fun to be had at Newcastle Museum and Newcastle Art Gallery, and at night head down to our summer of sport live site at Honeysuckle for a cool drink and some AFC Asian Cup action on the big screen. Come down tonight for two matches, Palestine vs Jordan at 6pm and Iraq vs Japan at 8pm, and Saturday night for China PR vs DPR Korea at 8pm.”
The next Council update is scheduled for Monday morning.
Source: The City of Newcastle
A SANCTUARY Point man was bitten by a shark near Sussex Inlet on Monday morning.
Jeff Brown and his daughter Rhianna were surfing at Bherwerre Beach near the entrance to Sussex Inlet when he was bitten.
He had just caught a wave and was in the white water when he felt the shark latch on.
“I had just caught my first wave and was laying in the water with the board when I felt something grab my ankle,” he said.
“I knew it was a shark. I shook my leg but it didn’t let go so I kicked it with my right foot and cut that foot on its teeth. Then it let go and went away.”
Mr Brown said he didn’t feel any pain.
“It was really weird, I always imagined if I got bitten by a shark it would be more like a dog attack. “But it was quick, and it was all happening down below the water where I couldn’t see it. I was just kicking it off with my feet.
“It’s probably the best way to get bitten by a shark.
“Then after it let go I was a bit worried it might come back.”
Mr Brown’s daughter saw it swim away and thought it could have been about two metres long.
“We don’t know what sort of shark it was but it had a pretty big fin on it,” Mr Brown said.
Shortly after he made it to shore his brother-in-law and sister arrived with a first aid kit.
They bandaged his wounds before taking him to the Sanctuary Point Medical Centre where he received more than 20 stitches in his right foot as well as stitches in his left foot.
Source: South Coast Register
A 17-year-old boy has died after being attacked by a shark while spearfishing on Western Australia’s south coast.
Jay Muscat was bitten on the leg by a shark, thought to be a great white up to five-metres long, at Cheynes Beach, near Albany.
Jay Muscat, 17, killed at Cheynes Beach by shark
Police received a call from a member of the public at 12:20pm (AWST) to report they had found a body in the water.
When officers arrived at the beach, about 60 kilometres east of Albany, they confirmed the teen was dead.
Police said the body appeared to have an injury consistent with a shark bite.
The ABC has been told a fisherman brought the body to shore on a boat.
A report is being prepared for the coroner. The fatal shark attack is the eighth in WA in the past five years.
Spear gun ‘fired at shark’ during attack
Department of Fisheries spokesman Rick Fletcher said the shark may be injured as a spear was fired at it during the attack.
“They had been spearfishing and it’s our understanding they had already captured some fish,” he said.
“It appears the shark swam past one diver and bit the other on the leg.”
Drum lines have been deployed in the area to catch the shark.
Beaches were closed on Monday afternoon and were likely to remain closed on Tuesday as the search continued.
“It’s possible the shark was actually injured in the attack therefore we’ll do patrols along the beaches as well,” Dr Fletcher said.
Shark ‘likely to be killed’ if caught
Dr Fletcher said one inflatable and one rigid-hull vessel had been deployed to track the shark and deploy drum lines.
He could not confirm whether a shark sighting in that area had been reported to the department earlier on Monday.
Fatal shark attacks in WA since 2000
Spearfisher Jay Muscat: Cheynes Beach December 29, 2014
Surfer Chris Boyd: Gracetown November 23, 2013
Surfer Ben Linden: Wedge Island, July 14, 2012
Diver Peter Kurmann: Geographe Bay, March 31, 2012
Diver George Wainwright: Rottnest Island, Oct 22, 2011
Swimmer Bryn Martin: Cottesloe Beach, Oct 10, 2011
Surfer Kyle Burden: Bunker Bay, Sept 4, 2011
Surfer Nick Edwards: Gracetown, Aug 17, 2010
Snorkeller Brian Guest: Port Kennedy, Dec 27, 2008
Snorkeller Geoffrey Brazier: Abrolhos Islands, Mar 19, 2005
Surfer Brad Smith: Gracetown, July 10, 2004
Swimmer Ken Crew: North Cottesloe, Nov 6, 2000
He added it was likely the shark would be killed.
“At this stage it’s highly likely that if we capture the shark that’s likely to have been involved in the incident it will be destroyed,” he said.
He described the incident as tragic and traumatic.
“Our sympathies go out to those particular families,” he said.
Fisheries has urged local people and holidaymakers to stay out of the water.
Children’s vacation swimming classes were being held about 250 metres from where the shark attack occurred, but had concluded shortly beforehand.
A spokesman for the Department of Education said the lessons would remain suspended until further notice.
ABC reporter Roxanne Taylor was at the beach about an hour before the suspected attack occurred.
“There was a massive pod of about 10 dolphins in the cove. The water was perfectly still, crystal clear,” she said.
Local surfers have talked about a shark swimming around people in the area in recent days.
Cheynes Beach has deep water and rocky outcrops, and is a popular camping and fishing destination.
In October this year, surfer Sean Pollard, 23, lost an arm and his other hand during an attack at Kelpids Beach at Wylie Bay near Esperance.
Two sharks were caught and killed after WA’s Department of Fisheries deployed drum lines off the beach after the incident.
A 50-year-old man was attacked by a shark at Montaña de Oro State Park while surfing Sunday, according to authorities.
State Park Ranger Supervisor Robert Colligan said a man was surfing in the area of the sand spit shortly after 11 a.m. when an 8- to 10-foot juvenile shark swam up underneath him and grazed his surfboard and right hip and thigh with its teeth.
Colligan could not confirm the name of the surfer, but witnesses at the scene confirmed the man is Kevin Swanson of Morro Bay.
Andrew Walsh, who was surfing with Swanson at the time of the attack, said the shark swam from beneath Swanson’s board and dragged him under with no warning.
“It was really radical,” he said. “I was about 10 feet from him, and it was absolutely quiet. … (The shark) came straight up out of the depths and got him and took him under the water. That was the amazing part: this big giant side of the shark just curving up out of the water.”
Walsh said Swanson was below the water for several seconds before he surfaced on his board, yelled “shark attack” and began paddling for shore.
Once he reached shore, Swanson used the leash cord from his surfboard to fashion a tourniquet for his leg where the shark bit him, Walsh said. Two doctors who had been walking on the beach helped Swanson, as well, and determined that no major arteries had been hit, Walsh said.
“We’re really blessed that he was still able to get himself to shore,” Walsh said. “I was a few feet behind him, and we grabbed him and got him out of the water, obviously, up on the sand, and very quickly these doctors where there, helping out and calling 911.”
Several local agencies responded to the call, Colligan said, including the Cayucos Fire Department, Cal Fire, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, the Coast Guard and State Parks. After being treated on scene, Swanson was taken by air ambulance to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo with injuries that were not life threatening.
Sierra Vista media representative Ron Yukelson said Swanson was in fair condition as of 3 p.m. Sunday. Swanson could not be reached for comment.
Authorities will not close the beach because of the attack, Colligan said; instead, per the county’s coastal incident management plan, State Parks will post notifications throughout the beach informing visitors of the attack.
The notifications will stay in place for five days, unless another shark sighting occurs, at which point the signs will stay up for an additional five days, Colligan said.
In the meantime, surfers and beach visitors are encouraged to use caution in the area, he said.
Kevin Swanson surf board
Kevin Swanson Surfboard bottom View
UPDATE 2:50 p.m. Monday: Kevin Swanson has been released from Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, hospital spokesperson Ron Yukelson confirmed Monday afternoon. According to Yukelson, Swanson was released earlier in the day, though he did not have the exact time.
Swanson has not responded to requests for comment.
UPDATE 11:30 a.m. Monday: Kevin Swanson’s condition has been upgraded from “fair” to “good,” Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center spokesman Ron Yukelson confirmed Monday. He is expected to be discharged within 24 to 48 hours.