Experts believe cooler water temperatures are behind an increased number of unprovoked and suspected fatal attacks by great white sharks since January – the highest in 86 years.
Father Andrew Sharpe became the latest fatality after the surfer was killed in an attack on kelp beds in Wylie Bay near Esperance on the south coast of Western Australia on Friday.
A weather event in La Niña in recent months has made water cheaper for whites and drawn them ashore, scientists say.
In the Taronga Conservation Society’s Shark Attack File, six such incidents were classified as unprovoked, while one was provoked in July.
Gary Johnson, 57, died after being attacked while diving with his wife near the shark hotspot Esperance in January.
Zachary Robba was swimming off the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland in April when the 23-year-old wildlife ranger was killed.
Rob Pedretti, 60, got on at Salt Beach near Kingscliff in northern New South Wales two months later when he was beaten to death.
Matthew Tratt was killed in a suspected large white attack on Queensland’s Fraser Island in July – spearfishing the 36-year-old, considered “provocative” sharks because they are drawn to blood.
That same month, 15-year-old surfer Mani Hart-Deville was killed in another alleged large white attack on Wooli Beach near Grafton on the north coast of New South Wales.
Finally, 46-year-old Nick Slater was killed by an alleged white man while surfing on Greenmount Beach on the Gold Coast last month.
Dr. Phoebe Meagher told TCS the daily mail This year’s deaths are six times the average.
Dr. Blake Chapman, who specializes in shark neuroscience, said great whites migrations follow prayers like salmon who prefer cooler water.
she said The guard : “In La Niña we often see small spines on shark bites.
“When we see great white sharks bite someone once and then leave, it suggests that they may have been curious and weren’t around to prey because nothing is stopping a shark from eating a person,” added the expert.
There were a total of 17 unprovoked shark attacks that year, 18 in 2018 and 22 in 2015 – but the last time such incidents resulted in six or more deaths was in 1934.