Shark Attack & The SUAPE Port


“Bruna Gobbi was around waist deep in the sea at Boa Viagem, Recife, when the animal bit into her left leg. Ms Gobbi was taken to a local hospital, but died after surgery to amputate her leg. The teenager, from Sao Paolo, was on a family holiday to Recife and was on the beach with her mother, grandfather and cousins – one of whom, Daniele, was in the sea when Ms Gobbi was attacked.

“The rescuers came in a matter of five minutes but to us it felt like five years,” she told Globo TV.

Signs warning swimmers of previous shark attacks are displayed along the length of the beach and Ms Gobbi had been warned about the dangers of swimming in the sea, the TV station reported. It said local authorities have asked the Brazilian government to ban swimming in areas prone to shark attacks.

According to the government agency Comite Estadual de Monitoramento de Incidentes com Tubaroes, there have been 21 shark attacks – 10 of them fatal – in Boa Viagem since 1992. Ms Gobbi is thought to be the first woman killed by a shark since the records began.” – Source



The shark attack problem, though, is being looked at as “if this, then that” but what is being forgotten is there’s a reason the “this” (sharks swimming in the waters of these beaches) exists in the first place. The SUAPE Port of Recife (pictured above) was built in the early 1980s and was fully functional starting in the early 90s, which is when all the shark attacks started to occur. Despite 51% of the Complex within which the port exists being protected land (see below), the construction of the port destroyed the mangroves which are critical nursery habitats for many sea animals, including bull sharks. This forced the sharks to lay eggs north of their preferred location, bringing their path in line with Recife’s beachline, and those entering the water. Not only that, but it’s known that large ships coming and going from ports attract sharks due to food waste thrown overboard throughout their journey.

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 2.09.32 PM(green area is protected land)

Add to these two points the geography of Recife’s seaboard, which makes for a shallow but sustained sand bank (over half a mile out to sea) that acts as a feeding ground for sharks, and the fact that this same area is where sting rays swim (a favored snack of sharks) and you start to see the problem. But you have to wonder, if the geography has long been a part of the city, why weren’t there many attacks prior to the early 90s? The SUAPE port’s creation and exponential growth is very likely the answer.


One response to “Shark Attack & The SUAPE Port

  1. Pingback: Recife beaches to get shark nets | Eyes On Recife·

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