A shark attack occurred yesterday here on Kauai, which resulted in a surfer having his hand bitten followed by 26 stitches. Davidsons Beach, the southern end of Kekaha Beach, was closed as a result and could reopen later today.
The surfer (Doug Moore), who is recovering, was sitting atop his surfboard when he felt a pain in his hand, which he first mistook to be a jellyfish. He hit the shark multiple times and was subsequently freed. He was later taken to KVMH hospital where he required emergency treatment. The size and species of shark is not known.
There have been over 40 shark attacks in Hawaii over the past five years. The State of Hawaii maintains a database of shark attacks.
In a strange twist of fate, another incident took place at virtually the same spot in 2017, when a French surfer required having his leg amputated after an attack by a 9-12 foot long tiger shark. In that attack, yesterday’s victim was reported to have been the one who applied the tourniquet to the injured surfer.
A previous shark incident took place at Wailea (Maui) in February when a standup padder was attacked. Luckily, the shark bit the board rather than the person atop it. That tiger shark was reported to have been approximately 10 feet in length.
There are concerns that more shark incidents on Kauai could be related to foreign invasive juvenile fish that have been seen on the north shore. These Tilapia are believed to have come from drainage ditches on Kauai’s westside, not far from yesterday’s attack.
What you need to know about sharks in Hawaii.
Should you fear shark attacks here in Hawaii? It’s unlikely you will experience a shark attack on your Hawaii vacation, and in fact, the statistical odds are 1 in 11.5 million. And, while rare at Kauai Beaches, it’s good to remember that shark sightings can occur anywhere in Hawaii.
How to follow Hawaii tiger shark tagging.
At UH Manoa, marine biologists track the movement of Hawaii tiger sharks that are fitted with satellite tags on their dorsal fins. Signals are received each time a shark surfaces. Marine biologists have been working on this for the past four years. They seek insights into the behavior and habitat of these revered creatures. Scientists are utilizing the latest in satellite tagging systems.
On their website, you can see various sightings of sharks in the Hawaiian Islands.
Sharks’ important role in healthy marine environments.
Sharks are known as apex predators. They play a key role in maintaining the species below them in the food chain and serve as an indicator of ocean health. Sharks help remove weak and sick as well as keeping a balance with competitors in order to help ensure diversity of species.
One-third of all shark species are threatened or near-threatened.
Sharks figure prominently in Hawaiian mythology.
Culturally, sharks have been held in high reverence by generations of Hawaiians as aumakua (family guardians); ancestors reincarnated as animals and sent to protect family.
Photo credit: UH Manoa.
Post Revised on June 2, 2020.