This article in the February 2016 issue of Honolulu Magazine is quite informative about shark attacks. Hawai‘i’s shark researchers are some of the world’s best. Here’s what they say about our recent spike of shark attacks.
The article shows the continuum of perceptions that a shark relies on to detect you throughout its line of attack: First it hears you from more than a mile away, then it smells you from 500 meters away, then it sees you from 100 meters away, and finally it senses your electrical signals in the final meter of the attack. A shark’s eyes go too far back to see you when it opens its mouth. Hence the need for electrical detection when the mouth opens. NoShark is designed to disrupt this final stage of the attack with proprietary electrical waves that irritate the jelly-filled pores around its mouth that serve as electrical sensors, also known as ampullae of Lorenzini after Stefano Lornzini who discovered them in 1678. But there is plenty you can do to protect yourself before then. Don’t be splashing around unnecessarily. Don’t urinate or menstruate in the water. Don’t wear bling or white or yellow clothing. And finally, in case all else fails, wear NoShark!
The article also shows a 50% increase in shark attacks in Hawaii in the last four years, to 39. West coast of Maui is particularly susceptible. Historical culling of sharks in Hawaii coincided with an increase in attacks, not a decrease, perhaps because killing off the apex predator allows more to come into the territory. Contrary to popular opinion, Tiger sharks and great whites do indeed like the taste of humans. Bull sharks, on the other hand, often bite and go away. Florida, where bull sharks predominate, has the most shark attacks in the world (748) but few deaths. South Africa and Australia, where great whites predominate, experience fewer shark attacks but by far the most deaths from shark attacks. For a related article, check out this site on total shark attacks worldwide. https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/isaf/shark-attacks-maps-data/world/
Finally, the Honolulu Magazine article suggests that a blue body suit may protect from these color-blind animals. It is worth watching Hannah Fraser in Tears of a Mermaid to see how effectively blue/black coloring can neutralize a shark’s aggressiveness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AokuhV0R0z8. Did anyone note that the shark that attacked Mick Fanning did not bite him? Why? Because the shark went after his surf board, not him. He was wearing blue and black. What color was his surf board? White. Have a look for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anhRxIQutZ8