One Shark SXM To Better Handle Risks From Sharks

Requin-tigre | Tiger shark
Requin-tigre | Tiger shark

Action CS3

  • Raise public awareness about shark protection
  • Supervise uses and attendance on high-stakes sites

Created after two consecutive shark attacks by what seems to be the same tiger shark in St Martin and St Kitts in 2000, the goal of the One Shark SXM project is to better understand the population of tiger sharks around Saint Martin, estimate their number, track their migrations, and catalogue their genetic profile. To do so, during scientific fishing explorations, a tiger shark is trapped, marked, and a sample of its DNA is taken before it is released. The goal, in case of a new incident, is to find the cause and neutralize it. Several scientific captures and DNA samples have been done locally since the start of the project.

A public interest group was created to better confront the risk of sharks. Its members— the prefecture, the Collectivité, the management association for the Réserve Naturelle, local doctors, fishermen, tourism professionals, the gendarmerie, firefighters, Regional Health Agency, maritime affairs—have met three times at the prefecture, on January 2, June 28, and August 22, 2023. Led by Adrien Bidenbach, the director of this group, these meetings cautioned the various parties about the necessity to plan for a rapid response in case of a new attack. For example, the doctors and first responders need a plan to react as quickly as possible.

Informational signage for the public will be installed along the beaches, along with events in the schools, with the goal of raising awareness without being alarmist. The One Shark SXM project is directed by the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), whose objective is to train the researchers through study.

All articles from: Newsletter-43

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