A new dataset containing 230 years of human and shark encounters to help keep swimmers safe


With online access to Australia’s longest-running human-shark interaction record, more than 1,000 shark encounters in Downunder over the last 230 years are detailed.

The Australian Shark Incident Database (ASID), formerly known as the Australian Shark Attack File, allows scientists to identify patterns and links between shark attacks and environmental, biological, or social factors. Useful for.

This allows conservationists, authorities, and the general public to better determine the conditions that affect the risk of shark attacks and make informed decisions when considering mitigation measures.

Established in 1980 and maintained by the Australian Talonga Conservation Society since 1984, the data in this shark incident record includes questionnaires, media reports, and government fishing completed by victims or witnesses of shark attacks. Collected using information provided by the department.

Epoch Times Photo
Taken May 1, 2016, this photo shows Dave Pearson, a survivor of an Australian shark attack, standing on Crowdy Head Beach south of Ballina, which was attacked by a 3-meter bull shark in 2011. It shows where you are.

Datasets have recently been standardized, and according to database curator Taronga’s Phoebe Meagher, comprehensive datasets like ASID were rare in the field of marine science.

“Sharing these data in an anonymized and peer-reviewed way means that we can learn from these tragic events and how to secure a shared ocean for sharks and people. “Masu,” she said in a July 7 release.

The database provides the location and time of the incident, weather conditions, activity when bitten, victim recovery status, and shark type, but has removed all identification information about the parties involved. This information provides researchers with insights into larger patterns of shark behavior.

Various shark bites

According to Professor Charlie Hoveniers of Flinders University, human shark bites have steadily increased over the past few decades, and the cause of the increase is unclear, but attacks have diminished in some areas and others. Remains at a certain rate.

“This reflects the high variability in the risk of being bitten by sharks,” says Huveners.

“It is unlikely to be related to just one factor, and a combination of reasons may contribute to an increase in shark bite numbers, often for water-based activity and shark population recovery. Includes increasing population spending time, changing shark outbreaks, etc. Coast. “

Environmental and habitat changes such as changes in water temperature and redistribution of prey have also been suggested as potential reasons for increased bites in some areas.

Database to support shark mitigation

Madeline Riley, the lead author of Flinders University and a researcher of shark attacks, said the data could be used to “optimize the design of mitigation measures.”

“For example, shark deterrents currently under development can reduce the severity of injuries and deaths by prioritizing integration into wetsuits and surfboards.”

Epoch Times Photo
Surfers show off their surfboard shark shields on April 2, 2021 at the San Lu surfing spot on La Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean, France. (Via Richard Bouer / AFP, Getty Images)

Company Shark shield There are already a variety of devices that use “Shark Shield” technology to thwart sharks. These devices have been shown to generate powerful currents that repel sharks and act on great white sharks, tigers, and bull sharks, which are responsible for most of the attacks.

As an example, the “FREEDOM + Surf” that connects to the tail pad of a surfboard has a thin adhesive antenna that glues to the underside of the board and doesn’t seem to affect performance.

The Shark-Incident Database is also expected to assist policy makers in making decisions on mitigation response choices.

Vic Peddemors, a shark scientist at the New South Wales Department of Primary Industry, said the database could help swimmers’ safety.

“By allowing access to a standardized database of shark-human interactions, we will continue to determine their trends and implement them in the new $ 85 million shark management program by the Government of New South Wales. We can develop potential shark risk mitigations, “he said.

The program includes shark nets between Newcastle and Wollongong (north and south of Sydney), ongoing deployment of smart drum lines between Vega and Tweed Heads, drone monitoring, and monitoring using tagged sharking stations. I will use it.

The smart drum line is designed to catch sharks approaching the shore and has proven effective in catching targeted sharks such as great white sharks, great white sharks, and tiger sharks, but of non-target animals. Capture is minimized.

You can see the Australian shark case database here..