How a great white shark altered a Nova Scotia underwater researcher’s dive plans for 2022


Chris Harvey-Clark says a close underwater encounter earlier this year with one of the ocean’s top predators changed his diving plans for 2022. On November 9, 2021, while the University vet Dalhousie was diving in the waters off Halifax, hoping to see a torpedo. stingrays, it was hunted by a great white shark 23 meters below the surface. In an interview on Friday, the diver recalled how the juvenile shark’s length of two to three meters indicated that the animal was at its most dangerous stage of development – when it stopped focusing on hunting fish and turned to looking for large mammals. Rather than being intimidated by the bubbles, noise and lights of the human underwater, the shark appeared curious and appeared to go into stalking mode, the researcher said. but I can tell you that large parts of your brain light up when you are at the reception, ”he said. The animal crossed paths with him three times, he said, adding that it was a clear sign of his interest in him as prey. The story continues under the ad. Harvey-Clark said the experience changed his approach to diving at the site. “My willingness to get into the water in this area from August to November is going to wane,” said Harvey-Clark, who teaches at a summer shark school in Dalhousie. The waters of the Atlantic coast are warming and researchers are reporting more and more shark sightings. Harvey-Clark suggests it’s reaching a point where it’s wise for frequent divers and ocean students to consider the risks and be aware of their presence. The North Atlantic tends to be murky and dark – great hunting conditions for predators ambushing to hunt seals, he explained. “Great whites can discern very subtle shades of gray that you and I can’t see, which means they can see you and you can’t see them in poor visibility.” Trends He remembers getting to the surface quickly, but said that as he approached the boat he felt a deep, instinctive dread that humans feel when they sense they are prey. The story continues under the “It was really scary” ad, he said. “I was just waiting for this burning crackle and a part of my body to be washed away.” Next year he said he would sometimes use remote sensing systems instead of diving to study torpedo rays, especially in the summer. Harvey-Clark, who provides submissions to the Florida-based International Shark Attack File, noted that 2021 was also the year of an alleged shark attack involving a 21-year-old Cape Breton woman. She was reportedly bitten off the west coast of Cape Breton in late August. There are no definitive conclusions about what happened. “I understand his concern, just seeing a (shark) scared me,” he said. “It was the most terrifying event of my life.” Harvey-Clark said that while working on a great white shark documentary recently, he was amazed at how close the animals were to the Nova Scotia shore. “They’re right there, 30 yards out in six yards of water,” he said. The story continues under the advertisement Sightings of great white sharks have increased in recent years. For example, last summer, tourists aboard a whale-watching boat off Cape Breton captured video of the predator tearing apart a seal carcass. Fred Whoriskey, executive director of the Ocean Tracking Network at Dalhousie and research partner at Harvey-Clark, said there is no scientific consensus on whether the large white population is increasing in the north. -West Atlantic. But he said there were tentative signs that more animals were entering the area, such as an increase in sightings of young sharks by scientists and the public. The species is listed as endangered in Canada and the United States, which means harvesting animals. is banned – and Whoriskey said the restrictions have likely helped the great white population recover in recent decades. This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 24, 2021. © 2021 The Canadian Press


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