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Government says no need for alarm over shark

Shelly Bay shark: hammerhead sighted on Sunday (File photograph)

The Government advised yesterday that there is no need for alarm after the sighting of a hammerhead shark at Shelly Bay.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued its response three days after the six-foot shark came close to the shore at the popular Hamilton Parish beach on Sunday.

A spokeswoman said: “While sightings of sharks are rare in inshore Bermuda waters, especially along our beaches, it is not unheard of and there are a number of accounts in the records.

“The ministry would like to state that there is no need for alarm in these types of events.

“Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that swimmers exit the water in a calm manner and wait for the animal to leave the area before entering again.

“Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to approach or handle the shark in anyway.”

An officer from the ministry attended the scene 30 minutes after the shark was spotted, but the animal had already left the area.

The spokeswoman said it is likely to be the same shark sighted over the past few months.

The Royal Gazette reported this week that hammerheads are not considered aggressive unless provoked.

The government spokeswoman said: “There are only a few instances of unprovoked attacks in records worldwide and these are attributed to much larger animals than the one sighted.

“It is not known why this animal is moving around Bermuda’s inshore water, but it is likely due to the abundance of prey items notably fish, rays, crustaceans and cephalopods such as squid and octopus.”

She added there are nine species of hammerhead sharks globally, including several classified as endangered on the World Conservation Union’s 2008 Red List of Threatened Species.

Anyone who spots a shark can call the Bermuda Aquarium and Museum and Zoo on 293-2727.