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Sharks Subject of Mayor’s TV Show

Ocean Safety Chief of Operations Archie Kalepa. Photo by Wendy Osher. [1]

Ocean Safety Chief of Operations Archie Kalepa. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The latest edition of the mayor’s television show, “Your County with Mayor Arakawa” airs tonight at 7 p.m. on Channel 53.

County officials say the live show will discuss recent events on Maui involving shark sightings and attacks at state beaches and county parks, and how they affect the community.

The program will feature Ocean Safety Chief of Operations Archie Kalepa and Department of Land and Natural Resources Aquatics Biologist Russell Sparks.

The public is invited to call in with questions during the first half-hour of the program to (808) 873-3430.

Ocean Safety Chief of Operations Archie Kalepa. Photo by Wendy Osher. [2]

Ocean Safety Chief of Operations Archie Kalepa. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Arakawa discussed options and mitigation measures during a recent Maui Now interview, in light of recent activity and reports. During the discussion he said he does not personally like the idea of hunting sharks or setting up barrier fences off shore [3].

The mayor said high surf stirring up sediment, murky water, and overfishing could all be factors in shark presence [4].

So far this year, there have been eight confirmed incidents in Hawaiian waters, including four within the last month, state officials said. Of the eight shark bite incidents, DLNR officials say four were on Maui, three on the Big Island, and one was on Oʻahu.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources launches a shark study [5] this month off Maui following the fatal attack of Jana Lutteropp [6], the 20-year-old German woman who died on Wednesday, Aug. 21 after her arm was severed in a shark attack incident at Maui’s Palauea Beach.

A $186,000, two-year study will focus on tiger shark movements around Maui [7], and compare their behavior to that of known movement patterns around the other main Hawaiian islands.

The incident comes on the heels of a separate incident in which a shark bit an unmanned board [8]about a quarter mile offshore of Kaʻa Point near Kanahā Beach in Central Maui on Tuesday, Aug. 13. No one was injured in that incident.

And prior to that, a shark attack was reported on Wednesday July 31,  in the Ulua Beach [7] area of South Maui.

The previous fatality from a shark attack in Hawaiʻi was in 2004, when a man was attacked while surfing in Maui waters. The incident was reported at 7:13 a.m. on April 7, 2004, 100 yards from shore at Pōhaku Park in West Maui.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has a list of tips for “Safety Dos and Don’ts” [4] relating to water safety and sharks.