Reasons behind increased shark attacks off Maui

Shark in Hawaiian waters (photo by Terry Lilly)
article top
Shark in Hawaiian waters (photo by Terry Lilley)

By Terry Lilley – Notice all the shark attacks lately off the island of Maui?

I know why they are happening. I have been buzzed by 18-foot hammer heads, Galapagos sharks, aggressive sand bar sharks and tiger sharks all within the last year while spear fishing or kayak fishing.


Just ask the dive shop owners. The increase in spear fishing has more than tripled in the last few years. It has become very popular and the sharks know it.

The sharks are learning to follow spear fishermen and kayak fishermen to get a free meal. I have had many fish taken by these sharks right off the end of my spear, including an attempt on Thanksgiving day.

We fishermen should rotate where we spear fish. If you go out at the same places every time, the sharks will wait for humans to catch their food for them. They look at a kayak or spear gun as a source for food.

I do not spear fish at Tunnels off Kauai any longer because the one 10-foot female Galapagos follows me around like a puppy waiting for me to spear a fish and then she steals it. If my arm is in the way, I would be bit.

Shark in Hawaiian waters (photo by Terry Lilley)

In old Hawaiian times, fishermen rotated where they fished so the sharks would not be trained by the people as to where they are going to find dinner.

The sharks never try to harm humans and I have made friends with a number of large sharks that I dive with and video. They are just doing what sharks should do. Eat wounded fish. Killing the sharks would be stupid and would ruin our marine ecosystem.

If you feed the neighborhood dogs free steaks everyday at the park, you better believe the dogs will be there waiting for you. They will soon jump right in your car window to get food.

We need to rotate where we fish like the Hawaiians have done for thousands of years.

Terry Lilley is a resident of Kauai.





  1. now we dont know any thing on why sharks are attacking humans but this can be a part of it. i think that sharks are learning to free meals from spear fishermen and kyak fishing however rotateing not going to do much sharks may be mistakening all divers/ swimers to have a free meal on them causeing more shark attacks. but i really dont know?

Comments are closed.