To gather data for the global shark attack file that is maintained by the S.R.I. This data is used by researchers worldwide to identify factors which are conducive to, or may trigger shark attacks. Data is accessed by physicians to determine treatment protocols for shark attack victims.
What is the Australasian shark attack file
The Australasian shark attack file, is a subset of the Global Shark Attack file (G.S.A.F.) which is accessed primarily by medical personnel, shark behaviorists and life savers. It exists because too many physicians and medical personnel were unable to access data from other sources, for their patients.
Why supply information to us
The Australasian Shark Attack file (A.S.A.F.) and the Global Shark Attack file are not competitors with the Australian Shark Attack file or the International Shark Attack file. The two databases collect different types of information because each has a different function. ISAF produces statistics for the commercial arena, whilst the G.S.A.F. and A.S.A.F performs forensic examinations of attacks because we serve medical personnel, shark behaviorists & life savers world-wide.
Why don’t all cases get investigated
As a general rule, we do investigate all attacks, however, we need more investigators to feed information back to our info forum. It would seem, for every attack, there are 45 close calls.. Close calls don’t make the news.
USA – Australia connection
In setting up this information site, as strange as it may seem, we had problems in setting up a working relationship with government agencies in Australia. There seemed to be a lot of secrecy and bureaucracy, even to the point of undoing some of our inroads to the agencies which could see the benefit of our endeavors. We have found that the S.R.I. in the U.S.A. have not only taken us seriously, they have responded in a timely and professional manner every single time. If you take into account the time difference, we have received same day and even hourly feedback from researchers and scientist of worldwide authority magnitude. All coordinated by the S.R.I. liaison offices in the U.S.A. (Marie Levine) We are proud to be the Australasian Shark Attack data collection site for the G.S.A.F.
Why are we doing this
Even with our research credentials, we could not access data available within Australia. There is a need for information to made available to those who require it. Even some government agencies have said they can’t get access to information.
What are we doing within Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania
In order to put things into perspective, the first step is to make available the initial information on the internet. This would allow public scrutiny and help fill in any missing data. Because the data is out in the open, the lid of secrecy is removed.
We no longer give media comment. On the rare occasion an attack occurs, we see information which has been taken out of context, mis quoted or just a downright falsehood. Just enjoy nature for what it is, sure, there are risks…what activity doesnt. You have more chance of being injured on the way to the beach. Myself, I only fear the actions of man against man, this is the true shame in life.
Species involved in attacks
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: A large shark with a heavy spindle-shaped body, conical snout, caudal keel and lunate caudal fin.
COLOUR: Slate brown to black above, white below. There is often a black spot at the pectoral fin axil and undersides of pectoral fins have black markings that vary among individuals.
SIZE : Males begin to mature at 7.8 ft [2.4 m], and may reach 18 ft [5.5 m]. Maximum length is at least 20.9 ft [6.4 m], possibly over 26.25 ft [8 m].
TEETH: Large triangular serrated teeth in both jaws. Teeth of the upper jaw are broad, lower jaw teeth are narrower.
HABITAT: This is a coastal and offshore shark of continental and insular shelves. The shark has been found off oceanic islands, and it also occurs close inshore. It penetrates shallow bays in coastal waters and may even venture into the surf. The shark is frequently found in the vicinity of pinned colonies and has been caught at a depth of 4,199 ft [1280 m].
DISTRIBUTION: Temperate, subtropical and tropical waters worldwide. In the western Atlantic: Newfoundland to Argentina, including the Bahamas. Eastern Atlantic: France to the Cape of Good Hope, and the Mediterranean Sea. Eastern Pacific: the Gulf of Alaska to Chile. Central Pacific: Easter Island, Hawaiian Islands and the Marshall Islands. Western Pacific: Siberia to Tasmania. The Red Sea and the Indian Ocean including South Africa and Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, and Western Australia.
General – This species is able to maintain body temperature as much as 14.4ºF [8ºC] above the ambient water temperature. By keeping the temperature of muscles and internal organs higher than the surrounding water, the white shark’s muscular strength and energy level is greater than that of a cold-bodied shark. In general, juveniles feed on fish, while adult sharks feed primarily on marine mammals,
Behaviour: This is the super-predator; it is without question the most formidable of all sharks. The white shark swims stiffly and is capable of great speed. A shark, implanted with a sonic tag, had an average cruising speed of 3.2 kph. The shark sometimes raises its head above the water (“spy-hops”), a behaviour frequently observed in the vicinity of seal colonies and in baited situations.
DISPOSITION: The white shark is curious and it learns by experience. However, the shark does not have hands and it often uses its teeth to inspect an unfamiliar object.
Danger to humans – Sightings of a white shark does not mean that an attack is inevitable; the shark is often indifferent to divers. However, this species has been implicated in numerous unprovoked attacks on swimmers, surfers and divers. Most bites by white sharks are not fatal, but incidents in which a white shark partially consumed a human have occurred. In baited situations, divers are advised to remain inside a shark cage.
NOTE: This species is protected in South African territorial waters. It is also a protected species along the eastern coast of the United States, Malta and Australia. In 2004, the white shark was listed on Appendix II of CITES, and it is listed on Appendix I and II of CMS (Bonn Convention).
COLOUR: Varies from brownish, olive, grey to black above; pale grey, dirty yellow, pale grey or white below. Young sharks have tiger-like vertical dark bars, but as the shark’s age the marks fade and they are usually absent in adults.
SIZE: Most individuals encountered by the divers range between 11 and 14 ft [3.4 to 4.3 m] in length. Males mature at 7.4 to 9.5 ft [2.26 to 2.9 m] and reach a length of at least 12.1 ft [3.7 m]. Females mature between 8.2 and 11.5 ft [2.5 and 3.5 m] and reach a length of more than 18 ft [5.5 m]. One large female caught in 1957 was 24 ft [7.4 m] and weighed 3,110 lbs [1,414 kg], and there is an unverified report of a 30 ft [9.1 m] individual.
TEETH: The teeth in both jaws are identical: heavy cockscomb-shaped cutting teeth resembling diagonally positioned blades. The coarse serrations of the teeth have fine secondary serrations.
HABITAT: Although the shark occurs off oceanic islands and has been photographed at a depth of 1,007 ft [305 m], it is regarded as a coastal species. The shark tolerates a wide variety of marine habitats and may be found in estuaries, turbid waters at river mouths, around jetties and wharves, coral atolls and lagoons.
DISTRIBUTION: Circumglobal in tropical and warm temperate seas.
Prey – The tiger shark is omnivorous; it may attempt to consume virtually anything that can fit between its jaws. It feeds on bony fish, sharks, rays, marine turtles, marine mammals, sea snakes, sea birds, crustaceans, octopus and squid, jellyfish, carrion and garbage.
Reproduction – Ovoviviparous. Gestation is slightly over a year and the litters are large: 10 to 82 pups. Pups, born at a length of 20 to 30 inches [51 to 76 cm], double in length within the first year, but their rate of growth slows as they mature. Most will reach sexual maturity within 7 to 10 years.
Behavior: General – The shark is usually solitary, but may be found in small groups of up to 6 individuals. This species is nocturnal; it comes inshore at night to feed and retreats offshore by day but often feeds near the surface on overcast days.
Feeding – When feeding the shark uses its wide blunt snout to advantage; a tiger shark feeding on a large stingrey was filmed pushing the ray’s body into the sand and between rocks — apparently to gain leverage in order to bite off a mouthful of flesh.
DISPOSITION: A tiger shark is inquisitive, and it may approach submerged divers and circle slowly at close range. Do not be lulled into a sense of security by its slow swimming movement and apparent lack of aggression; this shark may nonchalantly take a bite while remaining cool and casual. Tiger sharks have also become very aggressive toward spear fishermen and divers attracting the sharks in underwater photo sessions.
Danger to humans – The tiger shark, like its jungle namesake, is dangerous; its toll of victims throughout the world is second only to that of the white shark. It is considered the most dangerous tropical shark, and has been blamed for the majority of attacks in Australia and Hawaii. The shark’s large size, inquisitiveness and often aggressive nature, combined with large cutting teeth and indiscriminate feeding habits, dictates that a tiger shark should always be regarded as extremely dangerous.