According to Canada’s The Globe and Mail, marine biologist have discovered an aggregation spot for blue sharks (Prionace glauca) and salmon sharks (Lamna ditropis) in British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Sound. Dr. Rob Williams, of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, discovered the “hot spot” just south of Haida Gwaii, while conducting a survey for the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
According to The Globe and Mail report, Dr. Williams estimated that 20,000 blue and salmon sharks gathered in the relatively small area each summer. A paper was published on the findings last year and was recently tabled with the Cohen Commission
For more information, check out Mark Hume’s full article “Shark week: Marine biologists hit ‘hot spot’ off B.C. coast” at The Globe and Mail.
MyFoxPhilly.com is reporting that a story about a blue shark “beaching itself” on a New Jersey beach is the result of a fisherman reeling the hooked shark onto the beach. CBS3.com has a different take on the story quoting Melissa Nick of the Seaside Park Beach Patrol as explaining, “a fisherman caught a fish, was reeling it in and the shark chased after the fish.”
The “fish story” has made the rounds among various media outlets with headlines such as "Beached Shark Terrifies Swimmers", "New Jersey Shark Sighting: Sand Shark Causes Panic (which misidentifies the species), and "Another shark scare in New Jersey." Seaside Beach was reportedly closed after the sighting according to NBCNewYork.com.
The blue shark (Prionace glauca) is generally considered harmless toward humans and has a diet that consists primarily of squid, crustaceans, and bony fish. Blue sharks are typically found in deep water, but it is not unheard for them to be found close to shore.
This feature from 60 Minutes, , which originally aired in December of 2005 was updated on August 6, 2009. It covers the whole gamut of shark tourism and conservation. The segment does feature some footage that will clearly be seen by some as being detrimental to attitudes towards sharks and the shark tourism industry. Most notably a cage breach in which Simon implies that the divers would have “been toast” if the shark had not lost his bearing.
The lead-in to the segment also seems to state in a somewhat “matter of fact” manner that many people believe shark diving has resulted in an increase on shark attacks on beach-goers. It does seem to be somewhat balanced in featuring opinions of those both for and against shark diving, although I think it would have been more informative to see some references to research to support or contradict either point of view. I know there is at least one study on the effects of shark tourism on white shark behavior that was conducted in South Africa, which could have been relevant to the argument.
The segment started out with what I felt like was a somewhat negative attitude towards sharks from Bob Simon, in that he seems to be focused on fears toward sharks early on. However, Simon definitely seems in awe of the white sharks that he dives with in South Africa and even comments that the experience is less about fear than it was marveling at seeing white sharks up close. In the latter half of the segment, the focus shifts from shark tourism to the finning industry and the threat to global shark populations. By the end of the segment, Simon seems to be conservation-minded and even calls for people to give sharks a break.
It’s been over a week since an incident involving an 11-year-old girl being bitten by a bluefish was falsely reported as a shark attack by multiple media outlets. Within less than 24 hours after the “story” broke, an AFP release revealed that “maritime experts later concluded that the bite suffered by the girl was too small to have been caused by a shark and was compatible instead with the marks that would be left by a bluefish.”
While it’s not uncommon for details of breaking news to be sketchy, if not entirely inaccurate, most media outlets tend to follow-up on a story when it turns out the story has been falsely or incorrectly reported. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case with the following publications:
In a prime-example of media sensationalism, The Korean Times is reporting in the article, Vacationers Warned After Sharks Spotted, that two hammerheads were spotted off the coast of Tongyoung, South Gyeongsang Province “not far from” Mondol Beach. The article quotes a researcher of the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute as saying, “the hammerhead shark is a violent and dangerous species,” and “Our beaches are no longer safe from sharks.”