Shark attacks increasing in Hawaii

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

While the great white shark is the species most often involved in unprovoked attacks on humans, the tiger shark (shown here) comes in second place.

Shark attacks are on the rise in Hawaii according to a University of Hawaii study. Last year, 14 attacks were reported, which is a huge increase compared to the 3 attacks per year reported for 2009, 2010, and 2011. Businesses and tourists are growing nervous, while scientists try to figure out why there’s an increase in aggression.

Fishermen think it’s because the radiation levels from Japan’s tsunami-damaged nuclear reactor spooked the sharks closer to the shoreline, while marine officials think there’s too many yummy green sea turtles since the Endangered Species Act protects them. Carl Meyer, a marine biologist who led the University of Hawaii’s study, says increased kayaking and paddle boarding activities fill the water with shadows that make sharks get hungry.

Two deaths in 2013, with a German snorkeler and Washington fisherman, led to the state devoting $186,000 to better understand tiger shark habits. While scientists search for the root cause, longtime residents point out that a shark attack is less likely than getting in a car accident on the way to the beach.

Featured image courtesy of Pterantula on Wikipedia.