Shark attacks usually occur because this animal mistakes humans for one of its usual prey.Although infrequent, shark attacks cause fear in many people who visit beaches.The immense strength of these animals, capable of killing a person in just one bite, and the frightening reports of those who were attacked contribute to this scenario. But, after all, why do sharks attack bathers?
Among the main factors that lead to shark attacks, the action of man stands out, which ends up attracting species to regions close to the beach. In Recife, for example, the attacks, relatively frequent, are related to the construction of the Port of Suape, which caused the modification of the ecosystem, closing estuaries and landing mangroves , which present a great biodiversity and, consequently, provided food for sharks.
When an organism’s habitat is destroyed, it is common for it to go elsewhere in search of food and shelter. In the case of the beaches of Recife, it is possible to observe the disposal in the sea of animals that were caught with trawls and are not of interest to the fisherman, a full plate for sharks. In addition, sharks are also attracted by the remains of food and waste released by ships.
The availability of food in an area causes sharks to frequently return to that location. If it is a widely frequented region, these animals will have a greater contact with bathers, which can cause serious and even fatal accidents.
Attacks usually occur because sharks mistake the victim for their usual prey, especially in areas where the waters are murky. Accidents can also occur due to the shark’s need to protect its territory, a common attitude in several species.
Despite the attacks, it is important to note that sharks are fundamental to the marine ecosystem , and therefore their preservation is essential. The destruction of shark species causes damage to the food chain , for example, as its prey increases in number and causes imbalance. In addition, as some species feed on dead animals, they are essential for the health of the ocean.
→ What can be done to prevent accidents with sharks?
Some precautions can be taken by bathers to avoid possible attacks. Here are some recommendations:
- Avoid open sea areas, especially if you are bleeding;
- Avoid swimming at dawn and late afternoon, when sharks are most active;
- Avoid swimming in areas with cloudy water, as they increase the chance that a shark will mistake you for prey;
- Avoid swimming in areas close to fishermen’s boats;
- Avoid areas that have a record of attacks and always remember to respect the signs on the beaches.