Two accidents involving sharks left two people injured on the beaches of Ubatuba, north coast of São Paulo, on the 3rd and 14th of November. The injuries caused were mild and were compatible with the animal’s bite, according to a technical report from the Elasmobranch Research Laboratory at the Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp).
The president of the Brazilian Society for the Study of Elasmobranchs, a contributor to the International Shark Attack Archive and a professor at Unesp Otto Bismarck Gadig was responsible for confirming the two accidents.
He explained that the greater the number of people at sea and the more people invade this ecosystem, the greater the chance of interaction with marine fauna.
According to Gadig, it is still premature to point out other explanations for the occurrences. “The world’s shark accidents have increased in the last 70 years in line with the increase in human population. This only reinforces what I’m saying,” he said. He pointed out that both cases occurred close to holidays, periods that usually generate greater agglomerations on beaches.
However, the expert adds that other causes for these accidents can only be confirmed through monitoring over time. “If there are other background factors, that is, climate change, oceanographic factors, some disturbance in the ecosystem, that is possible to know, but not now. So, it’s about monitoring the situation to see if these accidents are repeated in order to try to find explanations related to more complex processes”, he explained.
The professor assesses that, when accidents are occasional, such as those in Ubatuba, it is not necessary to close beaches, but people can take some basic precautions.
“These are preventive measures that we can suggest for people to avoid or reduce the risk of encountering sharks, remembering that even without these behaviors, the risk is very low,” he said.
Among the precautions that can be taken by bathers, the teacher mentioned not entering the sea alone, trying to stay in a group, not entering the sea if you have any wound that might bleed – because these animals are very sensitive from a sensory point of view -, and don’t urinate in water – as this can attract an animal that is nearby.
The professor also suggests that people avoid entering the sea during dark hours, at night, in the late afternoon or early morning, because many species are more active for feeding during this period.
It is also not recommended to use shiny objects that can reflect sunlight and shine, which could be confused with small fish that are eventually preyed on by sharks.
Reference: CNN Brasil