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Bahamas Has One Of The Most Shark-Infested Beaches In The World

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

WEST END, Grand Bahama, has been ranked among the top 10 most shark-infested beaches in the world. There have been two fatal shark encounters in the area – the most recent last month - at Tiger Beach, which is a renowned location 20 miles northwest of West End.

According to TheRichest.com, Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa, is ranked number one in the world, with West End coming in second.

Grand Bahama has several shark diving sites, but Tiger Beach is perhaps the most popular. Bahamian and US dive operators conduct group dive expeditions there.

There are a high concentration of sharks, from tiger sharks, hammerheads, blacktips and bull sharks.

Tiger Beach has been described as a “veritable condo association of tiger sharks that scares away even the most experienced professional divers”.

The International Shark Attack File (ISAF) Report for 2014 indicates that of the 64 shark attacks worldwide, two occurred in the Bahamas.

It further reported that there were five fatal attacks, one of those occurring in the Bahamas.

The ISAF website warns that its site is a research tool used by Shark Attack Survivors to better their efforts, contact other shark victims and monitor trends in current (up to the minute) and past shark–human incidents from around the world.

On July 13, American Chiropractor Dr John Petty, 63, of Longview, Texas, disappeared while diving with eight others from the Shear Water during a shark dive expedition at Tiger Beach. His camera and shredded dive gear were recovered from the water. His body has not been found.

Bahamian and US authorities are still investigation his disappearance.

Jim Abernethy Scuba Adventures, the operators of the Shear Water, conducts three to four dive expeditions a month in the Bahamas and has been in the business for over two decades. However, it is not the first time that the company has had a fatal incident.

In 2008, it lost a client, Austrian lawyer Markus Groh, to a fatal shark attack and three years later Mr Abernethy – a well-known and controversial figure in diving – was bitten on the arm by what was believed to be a lemon shark while diving in the Bahamas. He was airlifted to a Florida hospital for treatment.

Though thousands of tourists dive with sharks at Tiger Beach without incident each year, the location has been the site of several close calls and tense moments. The cageless shark-diving there remains a major draw for those wanting to hand-feed the larger sharks.

Shark dive tourism is a multi-million-dollar industry and the Bahamas is probably considered the shark dive capital of the world. DiveTalking online reports that the country earns about $80m a year and has banned shark fishing in its waters in a move to secure this “tourism goldmine.”

Last month, a foreign expedition team onboard the Caribe Dancer were diving with sharks at Tiger Beach. The film is posted on Youtube.

Expert commercial diver and spear-fisherman David Rose, of Grand Bahama believes that shark diving and feeding is a dangerous practice that should be banned as it has been in the United States.

Shark Week 2014 began on Sunday on the Discovery Channel, with 14 programmes scheduled before it ends next Sunday.

Comments

All4One 3 years, 4 months ago

Tiger Beach isn't actually a beach, so this headline is misleading. It's 20 miles OFFSHORE. So any encounters with sharks in that area are most certainly deliberate.

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Sickened 3 years, 4 months ago

It's an underwater beach!! LOL!! Just look at that sandy beach in the picture.

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leight 3 years, 4 months ago

Thousands of tourists? Grand Bahama doesn't have thousands of tourists do any one activity. If so, I want to see this Abernathy guy's Bahamian business license and see him pay some real taxes to the Bahamas gov't. We'd know if it was a big business like that. I'd listen to the Bahamian over an American making profit in our waters.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

Is this a good thing?????????? Or good for Chinese fishing????????????

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KimAra 3 years, 4 months ago

I am sorry Miss Maycock, but I think that this article is VERY misleading and VERY damaging to the 1) Bahamas 2) Grand Bahama 3) Sharks in general. I do not believe that sufficient time and "homework" went into your report. If you base your information on the drivel that Shark Week airs you will become the most misinformed shark "expert" on planet Earth. They liken sharks to serial killers (nonsence) and are report about a "Monster" shark called Old Hitler who in their calculations would now be about 100 years old ( more nonsence) and had a programme last night called "Sharkagennon" (please Lord spare me from this drivel)... Did you know that "Tiger Beach" is actually located 12 miles from shore....this was misleading and damaging....sorry, not impressed.

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Holzeto1 3 years, 3 months ago

I am against feeding sharks. I think it acclimates them to us. Then when they see us they think, hummm, free food! I have even stopped feeding the fishes when snorkeling. It's just not good for them. And it's all for our amusement.

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captjohnr3 3 years, 3 months ago

Why Did This Shark Diver Disappear?

A story by Vanessa Richardson, Senior Editor, Undercurrent, Undercurents http://www.divefla.com/petty.pdf

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captjohnr3 3 years, 3 months ago

Why Did This Shark Diver Disappear?

A story by Vanessa Richardson, Senior Editor, Undercurrent, Undercurents http://www.divefla.com/petty.pdf

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Chucky 2 years, 4 months ago

Feeding sharks is absolutely stupid, why would anyone think it's ok? No different than feed lions of bears, it's training them to come to humans for food.

Only an idiot/ass would participate, and only a foolish government would allow it!

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captjohnr3 11 months ago

'Stop Shark Feeding Tours' Published on July 19, 2016

A Bill that would ban SCUBA divers from feeding sharks in U.S. waters introduced in Congress

Some SCUBA diving operators use bait or chum to attract sharks so that their customers can get an up close and personal encounter. A new bill that would make this practice illegal in all U.S. waters has just been introduced into Congress. Section 3 of S. 3099, the “Access for Sportfishing Act of 2016”

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stop-shark-feeding-tours-john-russell?trk=pulse_spock-articles

Stop Shark Feeding Tours

Please contact your US Representatives bit.ly/2ixq2vf and US Senator bit.ly/2ioSEs5 and ask them to vote YES on S.3099 http://bit.ly/2jvKta2 By U.S. Senator Bill Nelson bit.ly/2isEv86

Shark Detective John Russell http://bit.ly/sharkdetective

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/florida-fish-feeding-laws-kept-divers-sharks-safe-fifteen-russell?trk=prof-post

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