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Re: 10/23/2010 Scott MacNichol (Maine - USA ) No Injury

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:30 pm
by alb
Shark attack won't lead to new N.B. diving rules

Divers working around sea cages in Passamaquoddy Bay do not need to take additional precautions after a shark attack last month, according to a shark expert.

A diving crew was conducting an environmental assessment on a former salmon cage site just off the coast of Maine, near Deer Island, N.B., when a porbeagle shark attacked a diver.

Chris Heinig was assisting diver Scott MacNichol, who surfaced immediately and jumped into the small boat. He estimates the shark was about 134 kilograms and 2.4 metres long.

A brief video shows the head of the porbeagle shark, with its jagged teeth clearly visible, as it smashes into the diver's camera.

"He had a tail of a large fish draped over his shoulder," Heinig said.

Heinig contacted the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and those experts said they believed the shark thought the diver's video camera was food.

"The camera housing that we use is silver, it's shining, it has a camera in it with a battery," Heinig said.

Heinig said from a shark's perspective, the camera could look like a fish or small school of fish.

MacNichol was not injured in the attack.

Shy, elusive sharks
Steve Turnbull, a shark expert at the University of New Brunswick, said he agrees the shark likely mistook the camera for some food in the cold waters of the Bay of Fundy.

Turnbull has a lot of underwater experience with sharks and has reviewed the video of the attack on MacNichol.

He said porbeagles, which look like small great white sharks, are shy, elusive and eat fish, not mammals.

"There's been no bites, no fatalities or anything attributed to porbeagles. They are primarily eating fish. That's pretty much it," Turnbull said.

Turnbull said he has had his camera attacked on more than one occasion, though not in the Bay of Fundy.

Scientists confirmed a new breeding ground for porbeagle sharks on Georges Bank in 2008.

The porbeagle population reached dangerously low levels in the mid-1990s.

It's estimated there are about 190,000 porbeagles in Canadian waters — putting the stock at about one-quarter of its level in 1961.

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10/23/2010 Scott MacNichol (Maine - USA ) No Injury

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:26 pm
by alb
Maine Diver Records Shark Encounter

Scott MacNichol Was Uninjured, but Shaken after 300 Pound Porbeagle Shark Mistook His Camera Equipment for Food

A scuba diver who came face-to-teeth with a shark used a camera to fend off the animal when it came at him with its teeth bared - and he has the frightening video to prove it.

Scott MacNichol, 30, was shaken up but uninjured after a porbeagle shark apparently mistook his camera equipment for food Saturday while diving near Eastport, off the eastern tip of Maine. He estimated the shark was 8 feet long and weighed about 300 pounds.

MacNichol saw the shark swimming above him while he was filming the ocean floor under empty salmon pens as part of an environmental assessment for Cooke Aquaculture Inc. The animal then came at him, jabbing at the camera with its snout. In the video, its sharp teeth fill the frame before it swims off.

"He took a couple of bites at the camera. When he did that I was pretty much petrified," MacNichol said Wednesday. "If you watch the video, you can hear me screaming underwater."

Porbeagles are coldwater sharks that have a similar body shape and tail to mako and great white sharks. Their diet is primarily herring, mackerel and other bony fish.

The shark was probably drawn to MacNichol from the camera's light, batteries and silver casing, said Chris Heinig, owner of MER Assessment Corp., who was on the dive boat on the surface when the shark lunged at MacNichol.

"I think it came up and bumped the camera to see what it was," Heinig said. "But I honestly don't think the shark attacked Scott."

While hundreds of shark attacks have occurred in Florida, California and other warm-water states, they are rare in New England. The last fatal shark attack in New England was in 1936, when a boy died after being attacked in Massachusetts, according to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida's Museum of Natural History, which tracks shark attacks.

MacNichol, who has been diving commercially since 1998, took a day off from diving after the attack but doesn't plan to give it up for good.

"People get in car accidents every day and that doesn't keep them from driving," he said. ... 7209.shtml