Friday, July 07, 2006

Shark Sightings Double Along North Shore

Shark sightings and encounters along Oahu's North Shore beaches have reached a three-year high -- with six months still remaining in 2006. The current total is more than double that of 2005.

Increased numbers of sharks have been reported by surfers and swimmers at Waimea Bay and other big-surf beaches. In separate attacks, a North Shore surfer and spearfisher were recently bitten.

Shark expert Randy Honebrink, of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, believes the number of shark sightings is related to stepped-up news coverage about sharks. He said, "...the more you look for them, the more you see them."

Honebrink also doubts that two North Shore tour companies are responsible for the increased number of sharks. One company, Haleiwa-based Hawaii Shark Encounters, enables snorklers to watch sharks three miles off shore, in 500 feet of water. Put in a steel cage, snorklers are soon surrounded by an array of sharks -- mostly Galapogos and Sandbar species -- after bait is tossed in the water. Tucson, AZ resident Sylvia Thompson recently took the tour and found it simply fascinating. She said there was never any sense of danger, and the sharks were non-aggressive.

Honebrink also indicated that he expects shark sightings to return to normal levels before long, since these things tend to go in cycles.


~ NorthShoreBlog ~