With recent shark sightings and attacks in neighbouring Caribbean islands making news over the weekend, swimmers, fisherfolk and watercraft operators here have been urged to be on the look-out for the carnivorous creatures venturing closer to our shores.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs issued the caution while pointing out that no sharks have been spotted close enough to our beaches to cause any concern.
On Thursday, a Barbados TODAY team visited both the Oistins, and Bridgetown Fish Market, to talk to fishermen about any concerns they may have about plying their trade because of the new threat.
Fisherman Lyle Robinson said he and other fishermen were indeed having a rougher time from a lack of business rather than a fear of sharks.
“Last season, like this time, flying fish was scarce, right now the [numbers] are coming back really slowly, but they are starting to pick up,” he explained. “Most boats are catching them well now, no big set, but they are doing a lot better than December and the earlier parts of January.”
Vendors at both complexes mirrored Robinson’s view that the last several months have been hard on the industry, but that a possible shark sighting would not be a major concern for them.
Swimming and diving instructor, Don Layne, who also works as a lifeguard, said that though shark attacks are serious incidents, these animals seldom attack swimmers as often portrayed in pop culture. More often than not, sharks are seen outside their usual habitats when disturbed by changes in their environment he said.
Layne said: “There is nothing really to fear per se because sharks generally don’t like the taste of humans, they don’t go after people. Most shark attack and shark attack victims are caused by a case of mistaken identity because sharks do not have the best eyesight. As long as you do not panic and remain calm, they are [rarely] drawn to you in their curiosity.” (SB)