Sunday, October 20, 2019

Cape Cod - Shark Attack Mitigation Alternatives!

And I cite - emphasis is mine.
Personal Shark Deterrents

A growing number of personal shark deterrent devices are commercially available. 
Some are intended to be worn while others are to be attached to surfboards or similar equipment . The deterrents fall into two main categories: electromagnetic (EM) devices and camouflage. 
The EM devices include active (battery powered) and passive (permanent magnet) types that are either worn or are attached to surfboards. Camouflaging patterns are either wearable (wet suits) or applied to surfboards (decals, paint).

EM shark deterrent devices are all based on the same general principal, but they are not equally effective. “Sort of works” versus “doesn’t work at all” are both real possibilities and independent evaluations and comparisons of EM devices that are superficially similar are important...

The evidence for the efficacy of camouflage, whether worn or applied to a surfboard, is limited and inconclusive. We note that claims for camouflage tend towards statements that the swimmer or surfer is less likely to be noticed by a curious shark that just happens to be swimming in the area. This as opposed to statements that the camouflage will prevent the attack of a shark that is actively hunting for a meal.

The existing research suggests that some of these devices may be somewhat effective some of the time....We would always keep in mind that none of these devices provide anywhere near 100% protection under any realistic circumstances.
Finally, from a large shark already on an attack trajectory, arguably none of these devices will provide any meaningful protection at all. 
In brief and with the exception of the Shark Shield some of the time, those Shark repellent gizmos and those ludicrous wetsuits etc are all bullshit, cold-hearted scams and profiteering by unscrupulous con artists - re-read this and this!

And did I just hear, Clever Buoy?
Of the shark detections reported by CB, only ~40% appeared to actually be sharks, while ~60% were other objects, most commonly the baited video stations, which were stationary, or schools of smaller fish, which were moving. Of particular note, when, according to the video record, sharks were present, CB accurately detected them only ~40% of the time and failed to detect them ~60% of the time.... 
Additionally, lifeguard divers swimming in the CB array to clean biofouling off the sonar transducers were continuously tracked and continuously identified throughout the dive as large sharks. Such misidentification might apply to swimmers or seals, clearing the water unnecessarily....

Unfortunately, the documented performance does not remotely approach the promise of the system.

This creates a danger that swimmers and surfers in the vicinity of a system will relax their vigilance and fail to consistently follow safe practices, assuming that this system is protecting them to a far greater extent than it does. It should also be recognized that, even if the system does provide an accurate warning, the shark is already very close to the beach...
Yeah totally not surprised!
And the list goes on and on and on - with the fake kelp being one of the better, albeit prohibitively expensive notable exceptions!
Maybe, sometimes, somewhere! :)

But look for yourselves.
This compendium by Woods Hole is the latest and greatest synopsis of possible Shark Attack mitigation measures, notabene with special emphasis on trying to minimize bites by the resurgent GWS' population on the US east Coast in general and Cape Cod in particular. I must say that I'm seriously impressed - with some notable omissions: where are the wooden spoon and the red broom?
Synopses e.g. here and here, great app here.

As Tashi Blue astutely observes, considering that there are next to no attacks there, it all seems much ado about very little indeed - especially when compared to say, Hawaii, where people get munched  orders of magnitude more frequently but where nobody seems to be unduly hyperventilating much.
That said, what please is  Swimming with sharks in Oʻahu, Haleʻiwa, approx 3 miles from shore?!?

Anyway, it was quite different in the past.
But of course the new attitude makes total sense.
Assuming one observes a modicum of common-sense precautions (and here - plus, don't jump on top of a hunting GWS! :) ), chances of becoming the victim of a Shark attack are really extremely small - and, if more water users get trained and carry some first aid gear, one's chances of survival are very high indeed. In fact, among the known causes of human mortality, I would not be able mention a single one that kills LESS people than Shark attacks!
But on the other side, life in general is certainly most deadly, and people entering the water must be willing to assume a modicum of risk, to wit.
No single alternative or suite of alternatives that can 100% guarantee the safety of individuals who choose to enter the water.
  • Since no mitigation alternative can provide 100% safety, reducing the chances of unprovoked attacks on humans requires a strong commitment to education and outreach, which can result in the adoption of behaviors that may reduce the risk of an unprovoked shark-human interaction.

  • If water activities are avoided, the risk of attack is effectively eliminated.

  • If water activities are not avoided and best management practices and Shark Smart Behaviors are widely adopted, the risk of attack may be reduced, but not eliminated.

  • All individuals choosing to engage in water activities should think carefully about the level of risk associated with their preferred activity, and be comfortable with that level of risk before choosing to enter the water.

  • The decision to enter the water and assume the risk of shark-human interaction is made at the sole discretion of the individual. 
In diesem Sinne.
Enjoy the Ocean - responsibly!

PS - nice - and so true, too!
PPS - good reading!

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