Sunday, June 22, 2008

Are the Bahamas a new home for the Great White shark?

Bahamas Air and Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) officials in Grand Bahama are very concerned about the discovery of a Great White shark which washed ashore on a beach in the Eight Mile Rock area some time last week.

BASRA officials were called to assist in the matter, where they opened and dismembered the shark's body for testing by the Ministry of Health.

Speaking to The Freeport News about the shark, BASRA Vice President and Director of Search and Rescue d'Von Archer said it was unusual for great white sharks to be roaming Bahamian waters, adding that these sharks are mainly found in Australia, Los Angeles, or Hawaii.

Judging by the size of the shark, Archer said that there is a possibility that more great white sharks may exist in the area.

"It is impossible for a shark of that size to travel this far alone," said Archer.

He added that there could be a bigger shark and a shark of similar size in the vast Bahamian waters.

Archer's main concern was the possibility of the sharks reproducing. This would mean that the great white sharks are looking for a new environment in which to live. However, in order for BASRA to confirm this possibility, he said more great white sharks would have to be discovered.

Archer added that great white sharks are the only sharks known to eat man. They often mistake human surfers or swimmers for seals and according to Archer, it is too early in the discovery stage to send out a warning to the public. He recommends that beach goers be aware of their surroundings when swimming in the ocean.

There has also been recent sightings of nurse sharks swimming close to the shoreline. Archer said that the nurse sharks are not a threat because they are the most friendly of the shark species, adding that the nurse sharks are common in The Bahamas and mainly stay to themselves.

"The nurse shark does not cause much trouble, in fact it does not have sharp teeth," said Archer.
The nocturnal nurse sharks spends most of the day in large inactive groups. Archer says, it is early in the year for them to be spotted, but it is mating season and that could be the reason why residents are seeing so much of them.

He did advise the public not be alarmed if they happen to see a nurse shark because they are harmless.


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