Beautiful Brazilian Beaches Are Plagued By Shark Attacks

In the gorgeous, warm waters of northeast Brazil, danger lurks. The waters appeal to some of the most aggressive sharks, making it one of the world’s most dangerous places to swim, BBCreports.

The body of 18-year-old Tiago Jose de Oliveira da Silva was found in the ocean water last week just south of the Brazilian town, Recife. According to the autopsy, his death was caused by shark attack.

The rate of shark attacks in Recife, which is at 37 percent, far exceeds the worldwide shark attack fatality rate of 16 percent, according to the Florida State Museum of Natural History.

It is likely the two main causes are recent environmental disturbances and the amount of beachgoers who share the warm waters with aggressive sharks, Dr Rosangela Lessa of the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco (UFRPE) said.

It is believed the two main types of sharks involved in the attacks are bull and tiger sharks. Bull sharks are known to be one of the most dangerous sharks and the most likely to attack humans.

About two million people live in Recife, and many beaches are located in and around the city. A deep trench which runs parallel to the city’s beaches is about 700 meters from the coast line.

The trench acts as a migratory route for sharks who also use it to hunt in the shallow waters.

Port Suape’s construction in Recife first began in the 1970s but became a major shipping point in 1992.

With the building of the port, estuaries were deepened and docks were built. Such conditions are particularly attractive to bull sharks who stay near land.

The transient tiger shark follows ships and feeds off of their rubbish. With more ship traffic, more sharks followed.

In Recife, only 35 percent of the sewage is treated, and nearby municipalities sometimes only treat six percent. The polluted waters appeal to sharks who are known to scavenge through trash for food.

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An electric pulse is emitted in the water to repel sharks’ incredibly sensitive electrical receptors. Although, the pulse is not quite enough to keep the sharks at bay.

Lifeguard Cabo Aquino, 38, spoke with BBC:

“If a shark really wants to attack, this won’t stop him. But if he’s nearby and considering attacking, he won’t want to come any closer.”

Many attacks still occur, sometimes within days of one another.

The Brazilian government is considering to build a new port north of Recife in Goiana. Whether the conditions will be the same and shark attacks will continue remains unknown.