Black Tip Shark Res...
 

Black Tip Shark Resurgence off STX?  

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Iris Tramm
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August 28, 2014 4:19 pm  

Had a conversation with a local diver the other day about sharks in the area. I've spent a lot of time swimming and sailing and SUPing in the Buck Island channel, but I've been sorta out of the loop for the last couple of years. He tells me that due to the infestation of the lion fish and the killing of them by divers (which was encouraged as I last recall) has created a heretofore unknown food supply that has attracted a large number of black tips to the area who have become rather aggressive with divers. True? Rumor? Always been here and I just never noticed? All I've ever seen are dolphins and whales and the occasional reef shark.

Oh and those 'cudas, which I know are mostly harmless but still scare the crap out of me when I'm bottom cleaning and turn around and it's hovering there JUST STARING AT YOU.

IT


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vicanuck
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August 28, 2014 4:50 pm  

Friends of ours that own a dive shop confirm that there are way more sharks than there used to be. My daughter is a diver and has seen sharks lurking with a high degree of frequency.


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FLLisa
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August 28, 2014 5:52 pm  

I'm a diver and both times I've been to STX I was surprised at how close the black tips get (within 15 feet or so). Two of them followed us for an entire dive in June at the twin palms site in Cane Bay. It was rather disconcerting even though they weren't displaying any aggressive behavior. In FL when we see black tips, they are usually solo and swim away as soon you get near. The lion fish feeding explanation makes sense and I know divers that feed are trying to convince the sharks to get the lionfish themselves, but lionfish hang out in really confined spaces in the reef - not free swimmers or schooling fish like lots of the snappers, grunts, etc. that are out in the open and easy to catch for the sharks.


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St X
 St X
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August 28, 2014 10:45 pm  

Please be careful referring to the sharks as "aggressive". They have not been aggressive at all, but are highly curious as to whether or not they might get a free meal. If there are multiple sharks they'll jockey for position to be the closest should any dead lion fish suddenly appear. It is my understanding that DPNR has killed a few sharks lately due to reports of "aggression". Not at all cool.
But yes, there have been more reef sharks around the dive sites for the past couple of years.


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FLLisa
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August 29, 2014 12:31 am  

It was rather disconcerting even though they weren't displaying any aggressive behavior.

note - "weren't"


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St X
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August 29, 2014 1:49 am  

Noted.
The original post asks about "a large number of black tips to the area who have become rather aggressive with divers."


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Iris Tramm
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August 29, 2014 12:24 pm  

Thanks for the info. I wasn't attempting to personally characterize the bx of either divers or the sharks, just seeking confirmation on what I was told. My personal experience here (albeit not as a diver) was that there were very few sharks (if any) which posed a risk to humans. Conversation(s) with OTHERS seemed to contradict this. Was just looking for yet even OTHERS' experiences.

Can anyone state where they are seen most often? Dive sites, I assume. I'm in F'sted now, but spend most of my time in the water in the channel and off the East End.

Again, thanks for the info!

IT


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FLLisa
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August 29, 2014 12:46 pm  

I don't necessarily think black tips pose a risk to humans, I just think with people giving them handouts they lose their natural instinct to steer clear of humans. The only time in about 1000 dives that I've been injured by sea life was when other people were feeding fish underwater. I was right by the people with the food and a Bermuda chub took a bite out of one of my fingers just because it was near the general food area I guess. This is what I hope doesn't happen there.


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Iris Tramm
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August 29, 2014 12:52 pm  

I don't necessarily think black tips pose a risk to humans, I just think with people giving them handouts they lose their natural instinct to steer clear of humans. The only time in about 1000 dives that I've been injured by sea life was when other people were feeding fish underwater. I was right by the people with the food and a Bermuda chub took a bite out of one of my fingers just because it was near the general food area I guess. This is what I hope doesn't happen there.

Yeah, that was the vibe I got from the diver I spoke with. He said the lionfish had become so prevalent that divers were no longer taking them ashore, but just dumping them in the water. This created a previously non-existent food supply for the Black Tips and, therefore, they were becoming less inured to avoiding humans (which is what I understand their typical nature to be). I've not heard any stories about anyone being injured or attacked by one, only that they seem to be increasing in numbers and kinda freaking out the divers simply because they were THERE and the divers weren't used to seeing sharks so close and undeterred by humans.

Stay safe, people.

IT


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terry
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August 29, 2014 1:29 pm  

I have never seen a "black tip" shark in STX. Only gray reef and of course nurse sharks. I know that tiger sharks have been seen and caught as well.
The gray reef sharks are more aggressive when we are hunting lionfish. I know of three divers who have had their spears taken by sharks. Now if the sharks are in the area, I stop hunting.


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St X
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August 29, 2014 2:11 pm  

...more aggressive when we are hunting lionfish. I know of three divers who have had their spears taken by sharks.

There it is again.
Those sharks were not being aggressive towards humans. I would put big money on the bet that those spears taken had lion fish impaled upon them. The sharks are eating fish. Plain and simple. They are not being aggressive.


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Scubadoo
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August 30, 2014 2:36 am  

We had a couple good sized Caribbean reef sharks swimming with us at Salt River last year on a dive at around 70-80ft. No spears or lion fish. Got some nice pictures and video. They weren't a problem and seemed more curious, swimming behind and below. And when they weren't following us we were following them. That's why we go diving.


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Petra
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August 30, 2014 1:46 pm  

Very interesting. Anyone have photos or video they can post?


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Iris Tramm
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August 30, 2014 2:48 pm  

We had a couple good sized Caribbean reef sharks swimming with us at Salt River last year on a dive at around 70-80ft. No spears or lion fish. Got some nice pictures and video. They weren't a problem and seemed more curious, swimming behind and below. And when they weren't following us we were following them. That's why we go diving.

Very cool. Anyone remember that year there were all the baby reef sharks on the north side of Buck Island? (Or maybe that happens every year? I don't get to Buck enough.) OMFG were they adorable.

IT


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Alana33
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August 30, 2014 3:12 pm  

Mangrove locations are nurseries for all kinds of fish and sea life, including sharks.
Important to continue to protect them.


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AandA2VI
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August 30, 2014 4:15 pm  

ST X is totally correct. I also hate when the term aggressive is used. When yorue hungry and eating dinner are you aggressive?? I mean lol maybe a little but they are just looking for their meal. They are not coming after people - they are coming for their food.

I did see a 10ft bull shark on a dive last week. That'll make your butt pucker! Beautiful creatures. So sleek and fast and he casually swam away. I LOVE sharks. It makes perfect sense for the sharks to come a calling with lion fish kills. We are doing a massive CORE lion fish dive next friday and I am sure we will be seeing lots of sharks as we rid the reefs of these beautiful but devastating fish.

We've been lucky in Hull bay this year to host a couple baby sharks. One lemon and one Grey reef less than a foot that would run the shore every night. Heres a video of one of the babies.

On STT Ive not seen a larger amount of sharks other than nurse sharks which seem to have doubled since last year. I would like to see a hammerhead - tried to find some diving tip of Peterborg but its been rough and nothing yet. I need to make a trip to STX like asap. Maybe in two weeks. Miss the pier and need sea horse pics 😉

Cant wait to see Great Whites in SA next year.

Petea: Here are some reef sharks eating lion fish after we speared a large breeder lion at 55 seconds in.

Please remember sharks can NOT be lumped into "aggressive" or "non aggressive". All sharks have their own individual personality. There are some that are tolerant and some are more curious. Curiosity is usually seen as aggression to divers. I've had many encounters with many species of shark and never felt threatened or worried. If you have their food in the water at the end of a spear, you need to be prepared that they'll investigate and its a fact they're faster than you are 😉

*** The views and opinions expressed in my posts are soley those of A&A2VI and other like minded islanders. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the majority or any/all contributors to this site. Have a GREAT DAY!


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noOne
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August 30, 2014 5:07 pm  

Well, when was the last shark attack? Only time I heard of happened sometime in the early 70s if I remember correctly.


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Alana33
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August 30, 2014 5:19 pm  

Before that in STT - late 50's, early 60's.
Think someone posted about it and the 1 in STX that also occured.
Very extreme and rare instances in our waters.

As a Charter Captain and Dive Master for many years, years ago, I was normally in the water almost every, day diving and snorkeling here and BVI waters.
Quite common to see sharks, especially nurse sharks but it's a live and let live thing.
They have very little interest in you unless you're trailing just caught fish. Then they may take your fish. Only time I've seen a Hammerhead was diving in the cut between Salt and Cooper Is. (Sinking Rock) He was big (as were my eyes when I saw him) and just glided by while I was having a heart pounding moment, sure I was about to get eaten. The shark couldn't have cared less but that was enuff for me for the day. I was back in the water the next day.


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AandA2VI
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August 30, 2014 5:54 pm  

Statistically you have more of a chance being killed by a vending machine than a shark. Sharks are not to be feared.

*** The views and opinions expressed in my posts are soley those of A&A2VI and other like minded islanders. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the majority or any/all contributors to this site. Have a GREAT DAY!


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Iris Tramm
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August 30, 2014 6:10 pm  

I would just like to reiterate for the record that the word "aggressive" was used to describe the behavior of the Black Tips to me by a local STX diver.

Hearsay if you want it to be, but please don't criticize me for repeating it. I've no reason to disbelieve him.

This is also why I stay ON TOP of the water.

IT


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AandA2VI
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August 30, 2014 6:26 pm  

My comments are not directed towards you at all just more of a general statement on shark behavior. If a fish is speared in the water sharks will get excited about their next free meal and come in for a closer look. It's not aggression. If a shark charges a diver just because then that could be aggression but diving with dozens of sharks and some pretty bog ones at that - I've never been charged. Pretty straight forward.

*** The views and opinions expressed in my posts are soley those of A&A2VI and other like minded islanders. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the majority or any/all contributors to this site. Have a GREAT DAY!


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Alana33
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August 30, 2014 7:19 pm  

If you don't wish to see sharks, don't go in the water.
It's where they live and feed.


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sheiba
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August 31, 2014 12:18 pm  

I have a friend that had a large Moray following them while diving for lion fish. From what I understand, uncharacteristic of Moray but reports are increasing with the increase of lion fish hunting.
I suppose we should expect unnatural changes occurring with extreme eco changes such as the lion fish being introduced to the environment unnaturally.


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terry
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September 1, 2014 6:07 pm  

My friend Robert was bitten by a Moray about three weeks ago. It was trying to get to the lion fish.
Aggressive? If they are coming in and taking your spear they are being aggressive. Maybe not toward you.
Unfortunately someone will get bit and then the authorities will come in and kill them. I would hate to see that.


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CruzanIron
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September 1, 2014 10:42 pm  

Unfortunately someone will get bit and then the authorities will come in and kill them. I would hate to see that.

Authorities? What Authorities?


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