While swimming in waist-deep water with his church group at Surfside Beach yesterday, a 15-year-old Needville boy was bitten on the leg and hand by what was estimated to be a four-foot blacktip shark. This is the first confirmed shark attack at Surfside in more than two decades, one of only 19 in the area during the past 100 years.
Sharks are not uncommon along the Texas coast, especially in warm-water months, and a four-footer is probably on the short side of average along our beachfront. As many sharks as there are, however, direct encounters with people are extremely rare. Most often, bites occur in off-color water when the animals mistake a swimmer's movement for some sort of prey. That happens because sharks are hard-wired in their tiny brains to think almost anything might be food until they take a bite and determine otherwise.
The teen did the right thing when he reacted to the bite on his leg by aggressively beating the shark with both hands. He suffered one more bite, to the hand, but was successful in turning the shark away. His friends helped him to shore and administered first-aid. H
So, what are your odds of being attacked by a shark in Texas waters? In a word: slim. From 1911 through 2010, counting the billions of times swimmers and surfers and wade-fishermen and divers and others shared the water with the ocean's highest-level predators, there were fewer than three dozen confirmed attacks in all of Texas and, among them, only two fatalities.
Sharks are out there, probably a little closer and bigger and more numerous than you'd prefer. Be cautious and respectful, but don't let their presence keep you out of the water this summer.
Forwarded by my friend Floyd Parr, who has a knack for finding things such as this. Forget those fancy store-bought mouse traps. All you need is an (old) stew pot, coat hanger, plastic bottle, ramp (made from anything), and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Add a few inches of water to bottom of pot for quicker demise of rodents. Not the fastest way to dispose of a mouse, but highly effective.
Math trick: Here's how you change a 1 to a 2. ;)
In case you hadn't heard about the change of heart regarding our red snapper season...
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service yesterday announced a 28-day
recreational red snapper fishing season in Gulf of Mexico federal waters. NMFS
indicated it will publish a temporary rule in the federal register on June 10 to establish a Gulf-wide season closure at 12:01 a.m., June 29. This sets the end date for the red snapper season that started June 1.
The NMFS rule states “On May 31, 2013 the U.S. District Court for the southern district of Texas, Brownsville Division, set aside a March 25, 2013 emergency rule that gave the NMFS Regional Administrator the authority to close the recreational sector for red snapper in the [federal] EEZ off individual Gulf states.
Therefore, NMFS adjusts the closure of the recreational sector for red snapper
by closing the entire Gulf EEZ on June 29, 2013, instead of closing the EEZ on
different days off individual Gulf states.”
The court decision described in the NMFS season closure rule refers to a joint lawsuit filed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The two agencies filed the suit to challenge a NMFS emergency rule that would have meant a shorter snapper season in federal waters off certain states. For more information, see a TPWD online News
Roundup about red snapper.
The recreational red snapper bag limit in federal waters is two fish, at least 16
inches in length. The bag limit in Texas waters is four fish, at least 15 inches long, with a year-round, 365-day season in state waters. For Texas, federal waters begin nine nautical miles from the state’s coast and extend 200 nautical miles.
From a New Jersey mom comes this scolding of politicians there who perhaps forgot their roles as elected officials.