A diver was reportedly beheaded by a great white shark in Mexico in what has become known as the first shark attack of 2023.
Manuel Lopez, 53, was reportedly diving for molluscs in Tobari Bay using a surface-fed air source — diving 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 and impressively tore his head off and bit both shoulders,” said Jose Bernal, who spoke for the fisherman who witnessed the incident.
Diver decapitated by 19-foot great white shark in Mexico in front of fisherman, report says https://t.co/fKni3HQ1Yi
— Insider International (@InsiderIntl) 28 January 2023
Divers and fishermen in the area had been warned of the presence of sharks, keeping many of them ashore. The Mexican government reportedly offers a stipend of 7,200 pesos or $384 per year to supplement their income, but it’s not enough to live on without additional income from catches, Business Insider stated.
Because of the sharks’ presence, some fishing organizations are asking the Mexican government to purchase shark shields or some other type of device that will emit electrical impulses to keep them away, according to Tracking Sharks. Local biologists have also suggested that divers forgo black wetsuits, as they can often be mistaken for a seal by curious sharks, the outlet said.
“We found that surfers, swimmers and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) at the surface of the ocean will look just like a great white shark looking up from below, because these sharks cannot see fine details or colors,” Laura Ryan, a researcher in animal sensory systems at Macquarie University’s Neurobiology Lab, told the Boston Herald. Ryan said,
“Understanding why shark bites occur can help us find ways to prevent them while keeping both people and sharks safer,” Ryan added.
White sharks are commonly found in the Gulf of California during the winter months of December and January when pregnant sharks enter the area in search of food, Tracking Sharks reported.
“During the time the females give birth along the Baja Peninsula, they are exposed to a variety of commercial fishing activities that put them at risk,” Michael Domeier, researcher and the president of the Marine Conservation Science Institute told LiveScience. “Obviously, baby white sharks are at even greater risk since they spend the first years of their lives in coastal waters and their small size makes them even more susceptible to capture,” he added.
Sharks often seek out sea lions because of their high calorie content. Several fishermen have stated that when they accidentally catch a sea lion in their nets, sharks will approach their boat and patrol until the sea lions are released. Tracker sharks reported.