University of Hawaii researchers and state officials confirmed today that it was a tiger shark that attacked a surfer in Honolua Bay earlier this month.
A pair of shark researchers from the UH Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology used new DNA barcoding technology to determine the type of shark – and say it was undoubtedly a tiger shark. The measurement of the bite mark on the board of the late surfer was determined to be approximately 14.3 feet long.
According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, on December 8, a 56-year-old man later identified as Robin Warren of Napili, encountered the shark at about 7:50 am from the old ramp in Honolua Bay.
He was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he underwent surgery, but eventually succumbed.
Historically, researchers have relied on the comments of victims or perceivers, according to renowned shark expert Carl Mayer, but identifying sharks can be difficult.
About 40% of shark occurrences in Hawaii, according to Meyer, are not definitively identified in the species, compared to 70% globally. A scientific approach helps reduce uncertainties.
“Before the development of these new techniques, there was uncertainty about the size and size of sharks to bite people,” Meyer said in a news release. “We’re absolutely certain that it was a big tiger shark (in the 98th percentile for size), it’s man.”
State education expert Adam Wong used a swab kit developed by researchers to detect DNA from the bite impression left on the surfing victim’s board. State officials responding to shark encounters are now equipped with swab kits for this purpose, and new technology will be used further.
UH C. Grant Fellow said in the release, once we received the sample from Maui, we recently used these new techniques to determine the species and size of sharks involved in the Honolua incident. “To understand these phenomena clearly these new techniques can be applied in future events … which are fortunately quite rare.”
Swab kits can retrieve from any item of shark DNA that comes into direct contact with the shark, including surfboards, whatsapp, and fish. Swab samples are typically taken within hours of an event. In this case, he was taken after two and a half days.
Officials and researchers extend their condolences to Warren’s family and friends over the tragic event, and it is hoped the new technology may provide more information.
“There’s a lot we don’t understand about shark bite incidents,” Mayer said, “and so we’re trying to get the most factual information, as we can first, to make sure We are able to inform ocean users about the risks of their activities the most possible. And hopefully, in the future, to find ways to mitigate the risks. “