Every year, shark attacks resulting in dozens of deaths occur along the coast of Inhambane Province in southern Mozambique, usually on sandbars where the animals feed.
Andrea Marshall, coordinator of the Tofo Beach-based marine protection Megafauna Foundation, told DW Africa that awareness campaigns aimed at curtailing attacks is already being carried out in local communities.
Preventing deaths is the goal, according to Marshal. “We are working with communities to raise awareness of some rules that can protect them from shark attacks and reduce the number of attacks.”
Rules include avoiding the water at dusk or at night when sharks are looking for food, not going in the sea if the person is bleeding, because shark can smell blood hundreds of meters away, and not wearing bright clothing, because the reflected light looks like fish scales to the shark.
Marshall also points out that the conflict between sharks and humans in Inhambane Bay is not new, but that attacks have increased in recent years because of increasing population density.
“People entering the sea do not seem to be aware that there are animals living there,” Marshall says. “It is different to, say, a forest, where we can see animals playing. People should be very careful in the sea, and only go to places they already know. They should also always have company.”
Marshall told DW Africa that lack of resources, including financial, has hampered research work and the protection of endangered marine species along the Mozambican coast.
“Is this the sharks mating season?” she asks. “Unfortunately, we cannot answer because this organisation is new and only began operating recently. If we had funds, we could undertake more detailed studies.”
The Megafauna Foundation undertakes action to protect marine species, most notably sharks, which have, to the consternation of residents, recently attacked fishermen in Inhambane Bay.
Source: Deutsche Welle