ENVIRONMENT

Hawaii Closes Some Beaches Due To Shark Spottings

Maui closed Kamaole Beach Park for the second consecutive day due to several tiger shark sightings.

The Hawaiian island of Maui closed about two miles of beaches Tuesday for the second day in a row after reports of several shark sightings.

Maui County posted a statement on Facebook saying officials found a 10-to-15-foot tiger shark about 300 yards off Kamaole Beach Park 1 and a 10-foot shark within 100 yards of Charley Young Beach on Tuesday morning.

“The sightings continued the closure of ocean waters from Kihei Boat Ramp to Kalama Park until further notice. The presence of sharks will be reassessed throughout the day, according to the Maui Fire Department,” the statement read. “Signs directing people to keep out of the water because of shark sightings remain posted today. There have been no reports of injuries.”

The same stretch of shoreline was closed Monday after officials spotted at least three tiger sharks estimated to be at least 15 feet long. Maui County said ocean safety officers and Maui police went to the shoreline to inform beachgoers to stay out of the ocean.

“This morning’s aerial survey did not observe dead or dying fish, which had been seen on Monday after a damaged akule net released fish into the water over the weekend,” the county said Tuesday.

A 65-year-old woman was attacked by a shark off Hawaii’s Big Island in April, and 65-year-old Thomas Smiley was killed a month later while swimming off Maui’s Kaanapali Beach, according to CNN.

While increased shark sightings can result in more attacks, experts say not to panic. One-third of all shark bites in Hawaii occur in October and November, which is around when adult female tiger sharks migrate to coastal waters near the main Hawaiian islands for their birthing season, according to Carl Meyer, assistant researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology’s Shark Lab.

“The ‘fall spike’ in shark bites may well be linked to this natural, annual phenomenon,” Meyer wrote in October 2015 regarding an uptick in shark bites that month.

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