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New Smyrna’s Killin’ It: 19 and Counting

New Smyrna SharksNew Smyrna Beach, Fla. is absolutely on fire right now, but probably not in the way that surfers are hoping for. As the proverbial ink had just finished drying on our “New Smyrna 2008 Shark Attack Tally: 17 and Counting” post, the fellas at The Fear Beneath quickly informed us that the tally had in fact just risen to 19 shark attacks and counting in Volusia County. At this rate, the 2001 ’summer of the shark’ record of 22 attacks is on it’s way out the door.

The latest incident capped a 3 bites-in-3 days stretch when a 19-year old man was bitten on the foot. The victim was then treated at the scene and eventually left the beach with a friend, said the Volusia County Beach Patrol. Again, while no one obviously enjoys being bitten by sharks and we feel for all of those unfortunate enough to experience something like this, the nature of these ‘attacks’ has typically been in the form of minor bites leaving injuries that are %100 recuperable.

19 shark bite incidents in 8 months is a pretty outrageous number. Thanks goodness the culprits aren’t Whities or Tigers, there would be one hell of a problem then and I’m pretty sure that would clear out the line-up very quickly. Even so, what steps does Volusia County take to curb this issue? Surely this can’t be good for their tourism industry.

Martin Brody of The Fear Beneath asks a couple of interesting questions in his post: Four attacks in two weeks in California? There would be total chaos. Mass insanity. Why such apathy on the East Coast? When sharks attack your beach users every week, do you simply get used to it?

He’s right, four attacks in two weeks in places like California or even Hawaii probably would generate a greater response, but then again when your dealing with White Sharks and Tiger Sharks instead of Blacktips and Spinners it’s a whole other situation. And I don’t think this is something you can really ‘get used to.’ Mr. Brody sent an open e-mail to Kevin Sweat, Volusia County Director of Beach Safety, and although he has yet to respond there is hope that Mr. Sweat will shed some light on any plans they are making to prevent these encounters in the future. This type of activity is bad for surfers and swimmers, but even worse for the stigmas and misconceptions that surround our finned-friends who have called the ocean their homes long before our species ever stepped foot in the water. Hopefully some sort of preventative measure can be taken, whether it’s shark nets or any other harmless solution, and sharks and humans alike can enjoy the beaches of Volusia County in peace.


Posted by Shaun on Friday, August 29th, 2008 in Surfing.

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