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July 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Why So Many Maui Shark Attacks?

from the July, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Maui seems to have far more shark attacks than any other Hawaiian Island -- 20 in the last four years, mainly on snorkelers and swimmers -- and researchers wondered why.

Well, it turns out the results are pretty simple. There are just more sharks there. In fact, tiger sharks favor the waters there -- they have historically -- and it just happens, so do humans, says Carl Meyer, a researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. The researchers tagged tiger sharks off Maui and Oahu and tracked them as they swam around the island chain, discovering that they favored the waters between Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe islands.

"Together, Maui and nearby islands have more preferred shark habitat than all the other main Hawaiian Islands combined," Meyer said. "Maui sharks tend to stay in Maui waters, and those that normally live near Oahu even make the trek to Maui during mating season. A real shark hotbed, Maui is."

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