(Mirror Daily, United States) – After a study of two years, scientists have finally some answers regarding the shark behavior in Hawaii. The Department of Land and Natural Resources decided to tag and monitor tiger sharks, after an increase of shark bites in Maui during 2012 and 2013.
A few scientists from the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology have recently discovered that sharks usually prefer the “Maui Nui complex,” which includes Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, and Maui.
According to Carl Meyer, principal investigator for the study, tiger sharks that are captured around Maui choose to stay on the wide Maui Nui insular shelf, an area which represents the ideal habitat for every tiger shark. This insular shelf extends from the shoreline to depths of 600 feet (200 meters), and it is a place where most of the tiger shark prey lives.
Scientists explained that the behavior of the shark did not change. There is just the fact that more and more people see the ocean as a popular place for recreation. Plus, they learned that tiger sharks have the habit of visiting these locations during night and day with no distinct pattern, especially during the day.
Moreover, the study has shown that not shark behavior is to blame for the bites, but our human behavior when we swim in water where sharks are already present. On the other hand, the 2012-2014 increase in shark bites around Maui is still unclear.
According to Meyer, there was only one unprovoked shark bite off Maui in 2015. The only explanation of such an increase that might occur everywhere in the world is due to chance.
Experts believe that the best bet to reduce shark bites and attacks is to enhance public awareness. If people were cautious, there would be fewer casualties or none at all. The study has also proved that sharks are mostly disinterested in people or actively avoid them because compared with nearly daily visits by tiger sharks to use recreation sites, there are only a few bites.
Many efforts are made to educate and inform people regarding the risks of a natural hazard and ocean-drownings in Hawaii. Plus, these efforts will extend to include information about tiger sharks and bite risks.