Unexpectedly, Mogan town council, this Sunday, have decided to close Patalavaca Beach to swimmers due to two small hammerhead sharks having been spotted on Thursday and Friday near to the coast. Described as “two small offspring” the young hammerheads were spotted swimming close to shore, though they are thought to pose no real danger, the town hall has decided to only allow paddling in the shallows “until the water reaches knee height” just on this beach alone.
No further information has currently been released that might help us understand why only this beach has been affected, but it is thought that perhaps the two juveniles may also have been in the company of their mother, and that there have been several sightings over the last few days, as the animals may have repeatedly returned to the area.
Shark sightings along the Canary Islands’ coasts are quite common. Up to 86 species of sharks and rays have been documented, such as the angel shark, hammerheads, sunrays, and whale sharks. Seeing wild animals in these subtropical waters is not unusual, and, if anything, should be seen as one of the many abundant reasons to visit a place like Gran Canaria.
No Danger to Humans
Worldwide, there have only ever been 16 recorded cases of hammerheads biting humans, since 1900, and not one of those cases has ever resulted in a fatality. While they can be large and formidable-looking creatures, they are typically not aggressive towards humans and do not intentionally seek out human interaction.
Hammerhead sharks are primarily found in coastal waters, and their diet consists mainly of fish, rays, and other small marine animals. There have been very few documented cases of hammerhead shark attacks on humans, and those that have occurred are extremely rare, most often thought to be cases of mistaken identity.
Nonetheless Mogán Town Council have announced the closure of Patalavaca Beach for swimming this Sunday, having raised the red flag, due to the two-meter hammerhead shark and two hammerhead shark offspring that were spotted in preceding days, which it is thought may have returned more than once, since being first sighted on Wednesday.
Lifeguards have said entering the water beyond “knee height,” is restricted, according to the beaches councillor for the Mogán Town Council. This measure is apparently not specifically due to the two pups, but rather to the presence of a two-meter long shark, thought to be their mother. While these sharks pose very little, if any, danger to humans, someone in the town hall has decided that it may be prudent for them to announce their presence, and be seen to be doing something about it, on the basis that all animals in the wild can, if confronted, be unpredictable.
The local authorities say they are monitoring and keeping watch to determine when the beach can return to normal.
The red flag has, according to reports, been raised multiple times since last Thursday due to the presence of these sharks along the coast of the southwestern municipality of Gran Canaria.
“They’ve closed the beach for their safety. Humans are a danger to these sharks. These sharks are harmless,” says one of the many comments on social media following the publication of various viral videos.
Shark sightings are usually quite frequent along the Canary Islands’ coasts, especially in summer.
The vast majority of marine life in Canary Islands’ waters are harmless to humans, and that includes any sharks that might be spotted. Last year, the presence of a hammerhead shark was recorded on the Avenida Marítima in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The people who filmed it, far from panicking, followed the animal with their boat until they were within arm’s reach.
Esta cría de tiburón martillo apareció esta semana en la playa de patalavaca. Algunos usuarios aseguran que sigue por los alrededores.
Varios expertos consultados aseguran que siempre han estado por esta zona en estos meses del año, pero quizás por el aumento de la temperatura del agua se han acercado tanto a la costa.
Posted by El Sur Digital GC on Friday, July 7, 2023
This hammerhead shark offspring appeared this week at Patalavaca Beach. Some [beach]users claim that it is still in the vicinity.
Several consulted experts confirm that they have always been in this area during these months of the year, but perhaps due to the increase in water temperature, they have come closer to the coast.