A Review of Shark Control in Hawaii with Recommendations for Future Research

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ISSN: 0030-8870

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Wetherbee, Bradley M., Lowe, Christopher G., Crow, Gerald L.
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Relax, shark numbers aren't booming, but more research can make us safer

Feb. 8, 2016 | The Conversation by Jessica Meeuwig, Professor & Director, Centre for Marine Futures, University of Western Australia, Laurie Laurenson, Associate Professor, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Shanta Barley, PhD candidate, School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia

A documentary airing tonight on ABC?s Four Corners, ?Shark Alarm?, comes on the heels of a spate of shark bites in New South Wales and ra...

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In an attempt to allay public fears and to reduce the risk of shark attack, the state government of Hawaii spent over $300,000 on shark control programs between 1959 and 1976. Six control programs of various intensity resulted in the killing of 4,668 sharks at an average cost of $182 per shark. The programs furnished information on diet, reproduction, and distribution of sharks in Hawaii, but research efforts of the programs had a number of shortcomings. Analysis of the biological data gathered was not directed toward the tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier (Peron & LeSueur), which is responsible for most attacks in Hawaii. Reliable estimates of shark populations in Hawaii cannot be made based on catch data from control programs because of sampling biases. Most of the information gained from the control programs was not published in reviewed journals and is not readily available to the scientific community. The ability of the control programs to reduce shark populations and to remove large sharks from coastal waters appears to have been stated with more confidence than is warranted, considering seasonal changes observed in shark abundance and variable fishing effort. Shark control programs do not appear to have had measurable effects on the rate of shark attacks in Hawaiian waters. Implementation of large-scale control programs in the future in Hawaii may not be appropriate. Increased understanding of the behavior and biology of target species is necessary for evaluation of the effectiveness of small-scale control efforts, such as selective fishing after an attack. Acoustic telemetry, conventional tagging, and studies on population dynamics concentrating primarily on the tiger shark may be used to obtain data about activity patterns, distribution, and population parameters, providing information useful for reducing the risk of shark attack in Hawaii and elsewhere.

This article has 2 Wikipedia mentions.

Western Australian shark cull

The Western Australian shark cull is the common term for a former state government policy of capturing and killing large sharks in the vicinity of swimming beaches by use of baited drum lines. The policy was implemented in 2014 to protect human swimmers from shark attack follo...

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Shark attack prevention

There are a range of shark attack prevention techniques employed to reduce the risk of shark attack and keep people safe. They include removing sharks by various fishing methods, separating people and sharks, as well as observation, education and various technology-based solut...

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