The Maui News: Maui has the highest number of tiger sharks, attacks in state

Not only does Maui have the highest number of tiger sharks in the state, the area also sees the most shark attacks, according to local scientists who have tracked and studied Hawaii sharks for decades.

Shark bite frequency by island from 1995 to 2021 shows that Maui outpaces any other Hawaiian island with about 40 nonfatal bites and five fatal bites, research from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology shows. Oahu is second with slightly more than 20 nonfatal bites. Hawaii island is third with about 15 nonfatal bites.

Despite shark attacks off Maui in November, December and February, shark expert Kim Holland said he and colleagues are surprised that there aren’t more attacks, given how many tiger sharks are actually in the water.

“One of the things that has to come across in this conversation: The amazing thing to me and my colleagues is not how many shark attacks there are in Hawaii, it’s how few shark attacks there are in Hawaii,” he said. “If you think of how many tens of thousands of person hours of ocean users there are in the water and how common we know large sharks are, the fact that we have two (attacks per year) to five (attacks) to zero to eight to two to four to zero attacks per year is really astounding.”

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