A Shark Attack Outbreak Off Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil: 1992–2006
An unprecedented series of shark attacks on humans off Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil within a 14-yr period from September 1992 to September 2006 resulted in 47 incidents, including 17 fatalities. A suite of biotic and abiotic factors was examined to determine commonality in the attacks. Surfers and body boarders were the group most affected with a majority of victims being young (< 20 yrs old) males. Attacks occurred predominantly in shallow water, close to shore at beaches lying on a narrow channel bordered by an adjacent reef. Attacks transpired year-round with peaks in July and were distributed daily from Thursday to Tuesday, with peak on Sundays and no attacks recorded on Wednesdays. The construction and growth of the Suape Port, located just to the south of Recife, has resulted in major environmental degradation and is likely to have played a role in the recent onset of shark attacks. Individuals of the species most often implicated in the attacks, the bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas (Müller and Henle, 1839), may have been displaced from preferred estuarine/inshore habitats to the nearby Jaboatão River and the adjacent lagoon resulting in increased interaction with humans.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2008
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