Friday, 15 August 2014

This Tactic Could Wipe Out Shark Attacks

By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor
August 8, 2014 7:48 AM

A program that catches and releases potentially aggressive sharks off the coast of Recife, Brazil, has reduced shark attacks on humans by 97 percent, new research finds.

Deploying similar tactics in other areas where sharks and swimmers mingle might also reduce shark attacks while protecting the graceful beasts, scientists say. In the past months, there have been large protests against programs that cull sharks, particularly in Australia.

"With a 50,000-person protest in Western Australia against lethal methods [of shark control], this is exciting news," said David Shiffman, a doctoral student at the University of Miami who studies shark ecology but was not involved in the Recife project.

Shark attack scares
Shark attacks are exceedingly rare, with only about 50 to 70 attacks on people per year worldwide, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. Of those, only a few are fatal. Between 2006 and 2010, an average of 4.2 people per year died from shark attacks globally, according to the nonprofit conservation organization Oceana.

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