by Cliver Bacchus
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): As social media continues to reveal pictures of sharks in the water or sharks caught for sale, the debate is heating up about the coexistence of sharks and humans. Some say the sharks should be targeted as they are dangerous to humans, others say the shark plays an important role in the ecosystem.
Head of St Marten’s Nature Foundation, Melanie zu Schlochaten is arguing that overfishing of sharks will damage the marine ecosystem and tells WINN that two shark attacks in the region in recent months are highly unusual.
“It’s very unusual! Also if we are looking to the past … shark bites and people who die due to shark bites, it’s very low. In general, it’s about 5 people who die due to shark bites in the entire world per year, and that is of course a very low amount because everything is more than dangerous than the risk of dying due to sharks.”
A Ross University student was bitten by a shark on January 9, in the Booby Island area, and the injury to her leg was so severe that her leg was amputated in Houston Texas.
Media reports also chronicle the death of a 38-year-old French Tourist who was fatally injured while swimming in St Martin on December 19, 2020.
Melanie says the shark population is declining due to overfishing -200 million sharks killed every year due to overfishing and the shark fin trade. She told WINN that sharks are in their natural habitat and the recent incidents seem to involve the migratory Tiger Shark but sharks don’t hunt people.
” We are the most easy prey, any health fish is difficult for a shark to catch it’s not that they’re just waiting there to be caught, it’s difficult so a human is the most easy prey because we mover super slow, we’re just there on the surface. So if a shark enjoyed eating us, they would just be waiting on the side and no one would be able to go in the water. Clearly, we’re not on their menu but mistakes happen, ….we also have to remember that the sensor of the shark is around their nose so they can also measure electric impulses with the sensor around their nose something we don’t have. So if there are vibrations in the water they can be attracted to that. They test out everything with their mouth, they don’t have hands and their vision is also not so good.”