When Are Sharks Likely to Attack in Hawaii?

A sign a Ala Moana beach warning swimmers that sharks have been sighted

According to Hawaiian oral tradition, Hawaii shark attacks were most common during the late summer and fall months; or, as they put it, “when the wiliwili tree blooms.”

Turns out, they weren’t too far off from what scientists are now finding out. A recent study shows that female tiger sharks migrate to the Hawaiian Islands during these months to give birth. The migration and pupping season go hand-in-hand with increased shark bites.

However, scientists do not want people to start drawing their own conclusions about the recent shark attacks off of Maui waters. Other factors come into play, like shark behavior, etc.

Of course, we all know that tiger sharks are present in Hawaiian waters all year long. It’s just the late summer and fall months that seem to be the peak in attacks. But with the frequent shark incidents over a month-long period, I am starting to wonder how tourism will be affected. Prior to this, shark attacks seemed to be a Hollywood-type scare we’d only see in movies, like “Jaws.”

The best advice I can give on how to prevent shark attacks would be to avoid swimming during the early morning and late evening hours, as this is known to be feeding time for sharks. Also, stay away from murky water or river mouths and always check warning signs posted on the beach.

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