January 28, 2015
Tiger Shark Attacks Fisherman Near Maui, Leaves Nasty Leg Wound

A 20-year-old fisherman from Maui is recovering after he was attacked by a tiger shark he had caught and was trying to release back into the ocean.

According to the Maui News, Michael Pollard hooked the shark, thought to be between eight and 10 feet in length, on Tuesday morning in Lahaina. Though he now asserts that he should have cut his line after the tiger shark took his bait, Pollard instead reeled the animal in. After landing the large fish, he and a friend decided to push it back into the sea, and it was at this point that the tiger shark lashed out at him.

The shark began flailing as Pollard tried to move it back into the water, managing to catch his leg in the process. As the shark grabbed Pollard's left calf, it cut two semicircular incisions into his limb, which he covered with a tourniquet fashioned from his sleeves. The wounds required 38 stitches to close, according to ABC News.

Considered one of the most dangerous sharks in the world, tiger sharks attack humans in the Hawaiian islands more often than any other species. Last year, a group of researchers managed to tag 35 tiger sharks off Hawaii in an effort to track their movements and determine why a major uptick in attacks had occurred over the last few years.

The scientists determined that the tiger sharks exhibited a strong preference for coastal shelf habitats in water shallower than 600 feet. Though the sharks have been known to roam into the open ocean in a bid to find food, they were most often detected by researchers in the shallower waters directly off Maui. The areas frequented by the tiger sharks coincide with some of the island's most popular beaches as the Inquisitr previously reported, which may contribute to the amount of attacks that take place there. On O'ahu, for instance, the same coastal patterns are observed in tiger sharks, yet the incidence of attacks is far lower as the areas frequented by the sharks don't line up with populated beaches.

The study was initiated two years ago after eight attacks attributed to tiger sharks occurred. In the prior year, 10 attacks took place, leading researchers to question why tiger sharks in the region were lashing out.

[Image: Wikimedia via Travelers Today]