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New Smyrna 2008 Shark Attack Tally: 17 and Counting

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

The no. 1 shark-attack beach in North America is doing a fine job at making sure it holds down that title. While we’re only 2/3 of the way through 2008, New Smyrna Beach, Fla. has already wracked up an impressive 17 shark-attacks.

The latest encounter took place this past Sunday. An unidentified New Smyrna Beach man was paddling his way out to the break when an unknown species of shark grabbed a hold of the 20 yr. old by his left foot. The man was treated on scene and later taken to a nearby hospital. Overall the injuries were pretty minor and in know way life or limb-threatening. “We get a lot worse injuries of people falling on the Daytona Beach pier,” said Capt. Scott Petersohn, Volusia County Beach Patrol spokesman.

New Smyrna’s usual suspects are Blacktip, Spinner, and Bull Sharks that like to feed in the shallow, mirky water. While the typical nature of most of these attacks make it difficult to call them attacks at all, you still have to think it would be a pretty eerie feeling surfing in a place that averages two-shark attacks a month.

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Shark Goes For Cover Shot in New Smyrna

Monday, July 21st, 2008

New Smyrna Shark Surfer

With 2008 becoming what many are calling the “year of the shark”, the recent images captured in New Smyrna, Florida of a black-tip spinner shark leaping in the air for his own personal photo-op puts a fitting face on what is becoming a most unusual year for shark encounters. If you have set to see the shots, which were released by CNN over the weekend and are spreading like wildfire, they are images like none others you’ve seen before and more than likely will never see again.

To call 2008 the “year of the shark” may actually be going a little too far and is more than likely just a byproduct of our fascination with sharks. That’s becoming a phrase the media uses lightly and it seems like we have a “year of the shark” every few years or so. What has set 2008 apart from other years however, are the very unusual locations (i.e. Troncones and San Diego) and the unusual circumstances that have surrounded this years encounters.

The images from New Smyrna fit right in with the other unusual encounters that have taken place so far in 2008. When you begin to think of how many photos of surfers are taken all over the world, day after day, and to this point to have never seen any shots comparable to these is pretty wild. They are shots that even Kem Mcnair, the photographer who took the jaw-dropping shots, had trouble believing when getting the first glance of the camera-friendly shark. “I looked at the camera and go- you gotta be kidding me!” Mr. Mcnair said while still in disbelief.

Take a peep for yourself, the chances of seeing a shot like this again are pretty rare!

Posted in Surfing | 2 Comments »

Another Surfer Killed by Shark Near Acapulco

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Shark Attack AcapulcoLess than a month after 24-year-old Adrian Ruiz of San Francisco died after being bitten by a shark while surfing off Troncones beach in Acapulco, another surfer has been attacked and killed by a shark just 6 miles away. Osvaldo Mata Valdovinos, 21, was attacked Friday while surfing off Pantla beach, which is located west of Acapulco. The species of shark involved is not yet known.

This continues a string of attacks at beaches not typically known for these types of encounters with sharks. Exactly four weeks ago, Dr. David Martin was taken by what is said to be a 17 ft. Great White while swimming off of Solana Beach in San Diego. The following week saw the death of Ruiz by a shark whose identity is still being debated, many suspect it was a tiger while Mexican authorities claim it was a reef shark.

Aside from the tragic and unexpected life of another fellow surfer, this second attack near Acapulco is sure to escalate the tensions between those with two very different views on how to react. The response following the Ruiz attack by the Mexican authorities raised an incredible firestorm of opposition. The day after the attack, baited hooks were set to catch any sharks in the area without discretion. Environmentalists vehemently opposed the hunt and demanded that authorities post signs in the area’s beaches warning about sharks as an alternative to shark-slaughtering.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of Osvaldo Mata Valdovinos. We will keep you posted as more information is obtained

Posted in Surfing | 11 Comments »

An Open Letter to Mexico’s Congress on Shark Ecotourism

Monday, May 19th, 2008

MexiData.info note:

In April 2008, after marking up a legislatorial Point of Agreement regarding the “non-extractable exploitation of white shark at Guadalupe Island,” Mexico’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee of the federal Chamber of Deputies submitted its negative findings Point of Agreement to the lower house of Congress as a whole, where it now awaits action.

All of which relates to supervised shark diving (in cages) adventure and ecotourism activities that take place within Mexico’s Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve, located in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California. Activities that the Mexican government, after due study and review, has authorized through the issuance of a limited number of federal permits to Mexican and foreign tour operators (plus the requisite permits vessel owners/operators or their agents must obtain).

Following a long introductory review and criticism (with a number of unsubstantiated and/or arbitrary “facts”), the Environment and Natural Resources Committee calls for the federal government not to authorize shark watching activities at Guadalupe Island, “insofar as it may not have been determined if these practices change the behavior of this species, creating a risk to its population, the marine fauna of the area, and local fishermen.”

As well, the Committee is calling for Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, through its Attorney General for the Protection of the Environment and in coordination with the Secretariat of the Navy, to carryout increased vigilance and oversight in the ocean area to insure that all of the rules and regulations in the 2005 decree, that designated the land and waters off Guadalupe Island a natural protected area, are followed. brt

March 11, 2008

An OPEN LETTER to members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, Honorable Congress of the Union, Mexico, D.F.

Honorable Deputies of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee:
Diego Cobo Terrazas, Chairman
Jesús de León Tello, Secretary
José Luis Espinosa Piña, Secretary
Lucia Susana Mendoza Morales, Secretary
Benjamín Hernández Silva, Secretary
María Mercedes Colín Guadarrama, Secretary
Aleida Alavez Ruiz
Armando Barreiro Pérez
Edmundo Javier Bolaños Aguilar
Juan Hugo de la Rosa García
Adriana Dávila Fernández
José Antonio Díaz García
Emilio Ramón Ramiro Flores Domínguez
José Guillermo Fuentes Ortiz
Martha Hilda González Calderón
Christian Martin Lujano Nicholas
Cruz Humberto López Lena
Sergio Augusto López Ramírez
María Soledad López Torres
Beatriz Manrique Guevara
Carlos Roberto Martínez Martínez
Roberto Mendoza Flores
Fernando Quetzalcóatl Moctezuma Pereda
Víctor Manuel Méndez Lanz
Jorge Rubén Nordhausen González
José Ascensión Bárcenas Orihuela
Martha Angélica Romo Jiménez
Víctor Manuel Torres Herrera
Rafael Villicaña García
Carlos Ernesto Zatarain González

Esteemed Members of the Chamber of Deputies:

Several allegations have come to our attention regarding ecotourism activities of the white shark cage diving tour operators at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. Your meeting minutes of April 3, 2008 state the following (translated):

1. “As well, it is mentioned that the techniques used by these tourist service providers in order to attract white sharks puts at risk the ecological balance in the area, the habitat and populations of this species, since their boats carry containers with sanguaza (blood of different origins mixed with water), and bait that they dump into the sea once near the island with the aim of attracting sharks in order to see them rise to the surface or jump. It should be noted that the sanguaza consists of blood from different origins, (which) could have been fishes, fowls or mammals, and in some cases (it) has the remains of entrails mixed with water.”

2. “These boats pour out the sanguaza at night so that the essence can remain in the sea, and the next day they can assure tourists (of) the presence of white sharks around this. Another of their methods, although it is utilized to a lesser degree, is the use of pinniped (sea lion, seal or elephant seal) shaped lures, combined with marine mammal oil, a situation that obviously violates federal legislation.”

3. “As has been mentioned, the practices used in order to attract these species are so inadequate that they have modified the behavior of white sharks in the area, as well as its local distribution. This change of its behavior will create a potential risk to the populations of sea elephant (Mirounga angustirostris) and Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi), as well as abalone fishermen.”

4. “Regarding sanguaza, this must be considered hazardous waste and even potentially infectious, therefore its use to attract could result in the spread of pathogen agents or viruses that may be potentially infectious and harmful to the marine and terrestrial fauna of the region.”

We would like the opportunity to refute these allegations, and to speak directly with any members or deputies of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. What you have been made aware of at this pristine site is factually incorrect, and it does a great disservice to the overall positive efforts that this fleet, in good faith, has put forward within the Biosphere Reserve boundaries of Isla Guadalupe over the past seven years of operations.

If this site, and the fate of a large percentage of the Pacific’s white shark population, is to continue to thrive the actions you take in coming months will be a deciding factor. We ask that the esteemed members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee come to understand exactly how these white shark operations are run, and how this fleet, on its own accord, has made great strides in building a long term ecotourism benefit for Mexico.

We stand ready and committed to working with the Mexican government in developing this site as a world class ecotourism and white shark research destination. These small steps have already begun at this site, and we would like to introduce you to them.

Respectfully,

Patric Douglas
CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.islandofthegreatwhiteshark.com

Posted in Press Releases | No Comments »

Mexico’s Disgusting Response to Shark Attack

Monday, May 5th, 2008

shark attack dead sharksBy now, most are aware of the U.S. man killed in a shark attack off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast near Acapulco this past week. The news that San Francisco, Ca. surfer Adrian Ruiz was fatally bitten while on a surf trip hit home for many in our community, especially being proceeded a week earlier by the death of a swimmer off of the shores of San Diego after being bitten by a white shark. Both of these incidents were tragic in the sense that many family members and friends unexpectedly lost someone in a highly unusual manner. Our hearts go out to them and we wish them the best.

Unfortunately, the tragedy of the Mexico incident hasn’t stopped as authorities have decided to go with the ‘genius-method’ and slaughter any type of shark that may be in the area or simply passing through. Mexico’s Navy and maritime authorities say they have strung about 200 yards off lines with baited hooks near the beach in an attempt to catch sharks that may be using the area as a feeding ground. Navy Cmdr. Arturo Bernal, one of the authorities overseeing this unbelievable display of complete ignorance, stated that they “hope to catch any sharks in the area” and noted that this was the only way to prevent further attacks. If this Navy Commander was serious and able to spit out such nonsensical rhetoric with a straight face, there is no doubt a position waiting for him in the Bush administration once he has completed the task of eradicating each shark from the area.

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Posted in Surfing | 12 Comments »

San Diego Shark Attack Aftershocks

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

solana beach shark attackThe number of surfers and swimmers scattered throughout line-ups all over north San Diego is an awesome sign that the healing process following the tragic shark attack on Dr. David Martin has begun. It’s understandable that tight-knit beach cities like Solana Beach and Cardiff would be hit hard by the first fatal shark attack in 50 years. This is new for a lot of people in the area, most of which make the ocean a regular part of their lives.

Although many are returning to the water, it’s still quite obvious that the attack is at the forefront of people’s minds. Everywhere I go it seems to be what people want to talk about and it has even reached a point where many lifeguards, policeman, and many of our other public servants are spending a good portion of their days responding to ‘possible shark-sightings.’

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Posted in Surfing | 2 Comments »

Fatal Shark Attack Near Solana Beach

Friday, April 25th, 2008

solana beach shark attackBreaking: We have just received word that there has been a fatal shark attack at ‘Tabletops’ near Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach, Ca. Apparently the man bled to death after the shark bit both legs below the knee, severing one of his legs.

Witnesses say the man, who has been identified as 66 year-old David Martin, was swimming with a group this morning around 7:30 AM and was about 150 yards offshore when they noticed he began to struggle. Nearby surfers paddled over to help the man and discovered both of his legs had been bitten by the shark, one of them being severed. Both swimmers from the mans group and the surfers helped the man to shore. By the time they reached the beach there was no saving him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Coast Guard helicopters have been called in to assist officials on the scene and they are clearing people from the surrounding beaches and waters. Most of the local beaches within a 7 mile radius are closed at this time until further notice. The shark is believed to be a 12-17 foot White Shark and the coast guard is actively looking for it. If they find the shark they will do nothing to harm it, only monitor it’s activity and make sure that any nearby waters are cleared.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of the victim. This is the first fatal shark attack in the San Diego area in 50 years.

Stay tuned – We will update this post as we receive more information.

Thanks to reader JFaris for this tip.

Posted in Surfing | 6 Comments »

Top 8 Shark-Attack Beaches in North America

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

top 8 beaches shark attacksWith its thousands of miles of coastline and millions of surfers – as well as just beach-goers in general – the United States sees more shark-human interaction than any other country in the world. But where do most of the encounters with our finned-friends take place? The International Shark Attack File(ISAF) just released their list of the top shark attack beaches in North America. The list was quite interesting to check out – especially when I read it the morning before paddling out to location #2, The North Shore. You may just want to peep it yourself and see if your local break shows up on the list of the Top 8 Shark-Attack Beaches of North America.

1. New Smyrna Beach, Fla – known as the shark capital of the world, this beach has an abundance of Blacktip, Spinner, and Bull Sharks that like to feed in shallow water. This causes numerous encounters and yet the county keeps it open. Surf at your own risk!

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Posted in Surfing | 5 Comments »

Shark Kills Bodyboarder in Australia

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

shark attack deadlyIt looks like Southern California and Kauai aren’t the only locations that are finding themselves in the news for shark encounters. Sadly, the recent encounter that made headlines in Australia ended fatally.

A 16 yr. old boy was bodyboarding off of New South Wales in Australia when he called out to his friend to let him know he was in trouble. The friend went out to help, but at that point there had already been too much damage done by what officials are calling a “very large shark.” Rough seas and poor visibility have delayed any search for the shark, but many are leaning to the thought that the culprit was a bull shark as there had been several recent sightings in the area.

I can’t think of any action sport, or any other sport in general for that matter that has as much interaction with wild animals. Surfing is unique in that way and that is part of what makes it beautiful. Unfortunately, these types of deadly encounters take place on the rare occasion and remind us all to be as cautious as we can to avoid things like surfing near river-mouths, being out in the water when it’s dark, and coming out if you begin to bleed. Sharks have much more of a reason to fear us then we do them. Being aware and taking precautions will help lessen the already microscopic chances of having a shark make a mistake and grabbing a chunk.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victim.

Posted in Surfing | 2 Comments »

Creepy Shark Encounters From Huntington to San-O

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

When it comes to sharks and surfing I’ve always had the mindset that if I happen to be one of the few out of millions upon millions of ocean-goers to get nabbed there is really not a whole lot I can do about it. If sharks enjoyed the taste of surfer, Trestles on any given day would present a smorgasboard of munchies to fill their bellies with. Fortunately, sharks just aren’t really into us.
With that being said, I have definitely had my moments in the water where I begin to wonder if anything is lurking below that would make quick work of me if it so decided. It’s usually just a passing thought that comes and goes.

After reading about the recent white-shark encounters between Huntington and San Onofre, the next time that thought arises it just may linger a little while more.

Between March 5 and March 22 there were three very well documented encounters with Great Whites in Southern California. Two of them in Huntington, one in San-O. One of the encounters in Huntington is actually being classified as an attack, as an estimated 15 footer grabbed the back of a board with the surfer still sitting on it. The shark quickly let go, and the surfer was unharmed and left with some serious ding-repair.

The encounter at San-O was particularly interesting. A woman was walking on the beach by Trail One when a 6ft. white shark washed ashore and thrashed around for a bit. It had been swimming in very shallow water close to shore and was washed up when a larger set came in. It rolled around on its back for a couple of minutes and eventually worked himself back into the water. How random would that be to see?

San Onofre has been the location of many sightings over the last several years. For whatever reason, the whities that make there way through just don’t see too preoccupied with anyone in the water. One of my all-time favorite shots of San-O is of a local surfer sitting out the back waiting for a set and a massive dorsal fin cruising right in front of him. It was the summer of 2004 when several sharks decided to hang out there for a while and many of the locals became accustomed to them.

If getting grabbed by one of our finned friends is something you truly concern yourself with, I would highly reccomend going to grab some lotto tickets and staying indoors during the next thunderstorm. They really just aren’t into what we have to offer.

Posted in Surfing | 3 Comments »

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