Shark Attacks and Shark Diving – Comment and Response
Published online on 21. February 2015
Shark Attacks and Shark Diving
It is with great astonishment and concern that I read the letter to the editor by Barreiros et al1 in which the authors report an attack by a blue shark on a spear fisherman in the Azores. Whereas the first part of the article accurately details the circumstances of the accident, Barreiros et al, in the second part, devise a far-fetched and illegitimate connection with shark diving, in particular with shark feeding.
Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, In Press Corrected Proof, DOI: 10.1016/j.wem.2014.11.002
Published online on 20. February 2015
In Reply to Shark Attacks and Shark Diving
João Pedro Barreiros, Otto B.F. Gadig, Vidal Haddad Jr.
In his letter, Dr Juerg Brunnschweiler expresses both astonishment and concern regarding our paper when stating that it “devises a far-fetched and illegitimate connection with shark diving, in particular with shark feeding.” We do not agree with Dr Brunnschweiler’s comments, because 1) our paper is not a “criticism” of either shark diving nor shark feeding but yet a description of an attack that might have had some kind of connection with the growing industry of shark diving in the Azores; 2) we clearly expressed a legitimate concern that, contrary to shark species with residential habits, the blue shark that caused this attack has pelagic habits and roams coastal areas of oceanic islands, and is the only species targeted by the Azores commercial shark diving companies; 3) the possibility—although rare—of interactions with humans and eventual attacks are real and may cause collateral damage to many upstream and downstream areas of maritime tourism in the Azores; and 4) panic and disproportionate fear, something that is worldwide associated with sharks, are critical issues and may lead to other types of accidents.
Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, In Press Corrected Proof, DOI: 10.1016/j.wem.2014.11.018