Attitudes need to change about sharks, says DoE

| 20/04/2012

Tiger-Shark-Roger-Horrocks.jpg(CNS): As the research project into local shark populations continues the DoE is warning that with shark numbers lower than anticipated in local waters attitudes need to change towards these misunderstood marine creatures. As the body of research grows into the ocean predators their connection to the maintenance of healthy reefs becomes increasingly apparent. Local research has been boosted by the tagging of three sharks that have been found regularly in the waters around the Cayman Islands and the youngest of the three returned home recently almost a year after she was first tagged.

Coco the Tiger Shark is one of the three female sharks in the collaborative tagging programme between the Department of Environment (DoE), Marine Conservation International (MCI), the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University and the Save Our Seas Foundation and Foster’s Food Fair.

Coco left Cayman last June and has spent her time off of Jamaica, but in early February, she headed back towards our shores and finally arrived home. The tag she is wearing has proven to be very successful in keeping track of her movements, giving insight into the life of a young tiger shark for the researchers. All three tagged tigers have proved to be energetic, crossing great swathes of the Caribbean Sea relatively quickly.

The project involves an extensive survey of all the sharks around the Cayman Islands, providing information on the types and numbers of sharks and ray that we have. While there are fewer sharks than expected, they are particularly low on Cayman Brac.

“There have been scientific studies on coral reefs to show that the presence of sharks promotes healthy reef life, which is a worry for us as we depend on tourism to our shores,” Timothy Austin, Deputy Director of the DoE said. “The main threat to Cayman sharks is our attitude and this we need to address if our coral reefs and the life they support are not to decline further.”

A recent documentary film by local artist and marine conservationist Dr Guy Harvey has shown, “sharks are not the bad guys”.

The project also works with fishermen and divers whose expertise and observations are important to the project. Any sightings of shark, whale or dolphin helps and can be reported to the DoE at DOE@GOV.KY or on 949-8469.

Category: Science and Nature

Comments (23)

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  1. Bling man says:

    I na gettin in argument.   I have agreement with sharks.   I na get in water and dey na come on land.

    • Anonymous says:

      I like the way you think

    • Anonymous says:

      We need to change our attitude yeah, we sure do!  To go back killing every one we see in order to protect our waters like we used to.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sharks killed a world champion body boarder on Thursday!

    • Anonymous says:

      According to the news story I read there was a TV documentary film crew chumming in the area at the time to attract sharks. Having triggered the feeding response from the sharks in the area this poor fellow had his leg bitten off. It was a single bite not multiple bites which seems to me that the shark realised this was not its prey and left it alone.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sharks 1… Humans10,000

    • Anonymous says:

      it was there water before ours

  3. Anonymous says:

    What I want to know is why the article refers to Coco coming “home”. Maybe she lives in Jamaica and is just comng to Cayman on vacation periodically or to look a job! That would make more sense.

  4. Anonymous says:

    for the sharks' sakes; no more long distance swims!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Tell that to the 20 yr old bodysurfing world champion that was killed by a shark yesterday!

  6. Anonymous says:

    As is common knowledge many people are terrified by sharks and kill them on every opportunity. It is ignorance primarily but the denial of this fear needs to be overcome before progress can be made in education.

    The adolesent mentality that killing a shark makes one macho also needs to be addressed and it is false.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Attitude needs to change about a lot of species, but that a whole other story.

    Sharks eat reef fish but they do not abuse of them like an "all you can eat buffet", in fact no animal does that besides human beings… Also Shark are very benefician for the overall health of the oceans.

    I think that we need, not only change our attitude but educate ourselves about the reality of species in the world and the effect of their extinction. 

    I am all up for saving Shark, heck I am up for saving ANY animal because God create them for a reason… We can make a difference for the better so Save Cayman Sharks.

  8. Kadafe says:

    Tsk tsk. Wish you could take back that ignorant comment now huh?

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is all BS rehashed from a previous article. There are no statistics to show that the shark population here has substantially declined over say the last 10 years andno research to show the cause of any such decline, if it exists. If the shark population is low by comparison to other places that simply reflects nature; it is not a man-made occurrence. Orcas, which consider shark liver a delicacy, have been spotted in our waters recently. Perhaps that's why there are fewer sharks here. The article simply does show how our attitude has supposedly affected the shark population. Obviously the sharks choose to swim over to Jamaica and that may be because there are more prey there. There is no great market here for sharks and they are not deliberately fished but that does not stop this article from implying so by saying that attitudes need to change. What should we do – keeping throwing bloody water into sea to attract more?   

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder what scientific approach was used to come up with 'lower than anticipated'

      Sounds like guesswork to me.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If sharks primarily eat reef fish and we have a dwindling number of reef fish wouldn’t it be prudent to have less sharks so our reef fish population can bloom? tourist come here for those and stingrays, not scary sharks. Is there a market for shark meat? they occasionally have it for sale downtown.

    • Anonymous says:

      only the most ignorant of people could think that. 260,000 sharks are killed every day for the fin/meat industry. what population of any animal could sustain that?! under no circumstances would removing sharks be a good thing. They mainly eat dead/dying prey, so without them our oceans will turn into diseased, unhealthy environments. 

      • Mr Shark says:

        Idiot!

      • Anonymous says:

        There is no shark fin/meat industry in Cayman.

        Sharks eat anything that catches their fancy including us.   

        • Anonymous says:

          I seem to have missed all the news.  How many of Us have they eaten?!

          • Anonymous says:

            Surprising that you don't know that sharks attack humans. There were 2,463 shark attacks on humans in 2011. You should read more.

      • Angel of truth says:

        You and your fool hat, we will question what the so called fraud experts tell us, how many sharks people in Cayman kill? who eats shark in cayman? i dont think its Caymanians? maybe some eat shark but thats far and few in between.

        We won"t eat your lion fish also and we do not care to kill your sharks, we eat grunts,butter fish,old wife and don"t  forget yellowtail,so please we are not the dumb natives that you think we are.

        You want to ban us from the reef now, whats your agenda? i know you have one so let us in on the secret.