06 Jun 2018

Shark Sightings Rare But Swimmers Beware

On Sunday 4th June, 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs was alerted to a shark sighting at Shelly Bay through social media and direct phone calls. An Officer attended the scene within 30 minutes of being alerted but the shark had already departed the area. The films circulating on social media indicate that the shark is a hammerhead (Sphyrna sp.) although an exact identification of species is not possible. The animal appears to be the same size as previous sightings over the past few months, and is likely the same animal.

While sightings of sharks are rare in inshore Bermuda waters, especially along our beaches, it is not unheard of and there are a number of accounts in the records. The Ministry would like to state that there is no need for alarm in these types of events. Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that swimmers exit the water in a calm manner and wait for the animal to leave the area before entering again. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to approach or handle the shark in anyway.

Hammerheads are typically not aggressive to humans unless provoked and account for zero fatalities annually. There are only a few instances of unprovoked attacks in all the records worldwide and these have all been attributed to much larger animals than the one sighted. It is not known why this animal is moving around Bermuda’s inshore water but it is likely due to the abundance of prey items notably fish, rays, crustaceans and cephalopods such as squid and octopus.

There are nine species of hammerhead sharks globally with several species classified as endangered on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) 2008 Red List of Threatened Species, meaning that they are facing a very high risk of extinction due to human impacts and activities.

The public can contact the Bermuda Aquarium & Museum and Zoo at 293-2727 or https://environment.bm/contact to a report a shark sighting inshore.

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Read 1471 times Last modified on Wednesday, 06 June 2018 18:30
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