A diver was reportedly decapitated by a great white shark in Mexico in what has been noted as the first shark attack of 2023.
Manuel Lopez, 53, was reportedly scuba diving for mollusks in Tobari Bay using a surface supplied air source – scuba without the tanks – when he was attacked by a 19-foot great white shark, Tracking Sharks reported. (RELATED: REPORT: Shark Kills Woman Snorkeling In Hawaii)
“He was diving when the animal attacked him, impressively ripping off his head and biting both shoulders,” said Jose Bernal, speaking for the fisherman who witnessed the incident, the outlet stated.
A diver was decapitated by a 19-foot-long great white shark in Mexico in front of a fisherman, report says https://t.co/fKni3HQ1Yi
— Insider International (@InsiderIntl) January 28, 2023
Divers and fishermen in the area had been warned about the presence of sharks, keeping many of them onshore. The Mexican government reportedly offers a stipend of 7,200 pesos or $384 per year to supplement their income, but it is not enough to live on without further income from catches, Business Insider stated.
Due to the presence of the sharks, some fishing organizations are asking the Mexican government to purchase shark shields or another type of device that will emit electrical impulses to keep them away, according to Tracking Sharks. Local biologists have also suggested divers forego black wet suits as they can often be confused for a seal by curious sharks, the outlet stated.
“We found that surfers, swimmers and pinnipeds (seals and sea-lions) on the surface of the ocean will look the same to a white shark looking up from below, because these sharks can’t see fine details or colors,” Laura Ryan, a researcher in animal sensory systems at Macquarie University’s Neurobiology Lab, told the Boston Herald.
“Understanding why shark bites occur can help us find ways to prevent them, while keeping both humans and sharks safer,” Ryan added.
Great white sharks are often found in the Gulf of California during the winter months of December and January when pregnant female sharks enter the area in search of food, Tracking Sharks reported.
“During the time the females are giving birth along the Baja Peninsula they are exposed to an array of commercial fishing activities that put them at risk,” Michael Domeier, researcher and the president of the Marine Conservation Science Institute told LiveScience. “Of course, the baby white sharks are at even more risk since they spend the first years of their life in coastal waters and their small size makes them even more susceptible to capture,” he added.
Sharks often seek out sea lions due to their high caloric count. Several fishermen have stated that when they inadvertently catch a sea lion in their nets, sharks will approach their boat and patrol until the sea lions are released. Tracking Sharks reported.