Digital Dorsal

New website allows users to track tiger sharks off the coast of Maui

| posted on December 03, 2013
Scientists tagging a shark in the waters of the coast of Maui.

Scientists tagging a shark in the waters of the coast of Maui. Photo: PacIOOS

Seven tiger sharks that frequent the waters off Maui have been tagged with sensors by the Pacific Island Ocean Observing System (PIOOS) in an effort to better understand what’s caused the recent spike in tiger shark attacks off the coast of the Valley Isle. Through a newly launched website, anyone can follow the movements of the seven tiger sharks, which range in size from 9.3 to 14.2 feet. In 2012, 10 shark attacks were reported in Hawaii, more than double the average seen in a typical year. Within the past week, there have been two shark attack on Maui, one of them proving fatal. In total, there have been six attacks on Maui this year alone.

The concept of tracking sharks online is not new. The Eastern Seaboard, along with other areas, have similar online tracking sites already in place.

The sensors, which are attached to the shark’s dorsal fin, transmit data each time the shark breaks the ocean’s surface. While the seven sharks that have been tagged aren’t a substantial enough number to create a sound scientific observation, the PIOOS is planning to equip more sharks with sensors and expand the program.

According to a report from the Huffington Post, the information gathered from this study will help “determine whether sharks around Maui are more resident than they are around the other Hawaiian Islands and whether they exhibit greater use of inshore habitats than in other locations.”

Scientific research aside, while tracking the movements of a 14-foot tiger may sound like a great way to kill a few minutes at work, some Maui natives like Albee Layer haven’t decided whether it’s an effective resource. “I have mixed feeling about the launch of this new site,” said Layer. “I’m really stoked and appreciate that we’re learning more about these sharks because they’re so important to our ecosystem, but at the same time I’m a little afraid it might create a lot of unnecessary fear in some people. The sharks are always there, but most people are unaware of them.”

  • Dr. Evil

    Tiger shrks are a bunch of homos.

    • Paul

      Yeah, I agree. They should be banned.

    • pekerm4nn

      and nothing would be more fun thatn to see you in their jaws!

  • Nancy Hastings

    More people, more watercraft, more Go Pro cameras, more social media… more attacks.

    • ABudro

      indeed – go pros and social media are surely to blame……

  • Michel De Reier Magouilleur

    make sandwiches no problem

  • Clyde Hudson III

    Since PIOOS is funded by state and federal entities, seems to me they are willing to accept the liability when one of their sharks eats a tourist. I’m betting the personal injury lawyers already have the PIOOS site saved in their favorites.

  • Paul Thompson

    People are SO Dam Ignorant!!! Your in there Home!! And there Just Looking in there own Kitchen for food!!! And your Dumb a– is wining Like a 15 or 16 year old would— Wait Im sorry a Three year old has more common sense than the People that crawled out from under there Mommy’s skirt downing sharks!! If your really believe like that, Ill come over and come in your house and take what I want and if you say or act the least bit Bitter about it, I’ll just Kill you!!! That’s what your saying!!!!! Sounds Pretty screwed up Huh??? So Shut you Pie Hole and enjoy the creatures of the see, and if Not!!!! Stay the HELL away from the ocean, Got it!!! Pifft!!!

    • C-Bo

      Take it easy Paul !!!

    • Aussie

      * Sea

    • Dylan

      Well with all your incorrect grammer and poor punctuation usage, I’d have to say your three years old. Ranting on about something so small, and using vial language. A bit immature wouldn’t you say??