- A great white shark decapitated a diver in Mexico in the first fatal attack of the year.
- When he was attacked, Manuel Lopez was diving to collect mollusks in Tobari Bay.
- Divers had been warned about sharks in the area, but Lopez continued as he needed to make a living.
A 19-foot-long great white shark decapitated a diver in Mexico in the first fatal shark attack of the year.
Manuel Lopez was diving to collect mollusks in Tobari Bay when he was attacked and killed in front of a fisherman on January 5, according to Tracking Sharks.
“He was diving when the animal attacked him, impressively ripping off his head and biting both shoulders,” Jose Bernal told the outlet, speaking for the fisherman.
Local divers had been warned about sharks in the area, Bernal said, which meant that most had not been in the water for days.
However, Lopez decided to go ahead as he needed to make a living and sought to capitalize on increased demand amid a seafood shortage.
He was collecting ax tripe, a scallop-like mollusk, which is collected at a depth of up to 59 feet in a process that can generate sounds and movement that can attract sharks, Tracking Sharks said.
The presence of sharks has meant thousands of fishermen have been staying onshore, and the government offers a stipend of 7,200 pesos per year to supplement their income. However, this amount is often not sufficient when there is no income from the sea, according to the outlet.
Some local biologists have advised divers not to wear black wetsuits, as they might be mistaken for seals, and also recommend painting white stripes on the suits to look like a poisonous coral snake, per Tracking Sharks.
Some fishing organizations have also called on the government to purchase devices that could deter sharks, such as shark shields or devices that emit electrical impulses that deter sharks.