A Mexican diver was reportedly decapitated by a great white shark in what is believed to be the first fatal shark attack of the year, which happened on January 5.
Fifty-three-year-old Manuel Niebla Lopez was pulling mollusks off the sea floor in Tobari Bay off the coast of the Mexican state of Sonora when the incident occurred, the Washington Times reported Friday.
“The mollusks, which are found at a depth of 36 to 59 feet (11 to 18 m) locally, are pulled from the ocean floor which generates turbulence and sounds that could attract sharks,” according to the Tracking Sharks website.
Lopez was reportedly attacked that morning by a great white shark measuring 19 feet long. During the incident, the man was decapitated.
The animal also apparently bit both of his shoulders, a man named Jose Bernal told Tracking Sharks.
Divers were apparently warned about sharks in the area and chose not to go out for several days, the outlet said.
However, a seafood shortage created demand, so Lopez wanted to and chose to dive that day.
Meanwhile, anglers have chosen to stay out of the water due to the sharks, and the outlet said a yearly stipend of 7,200 pesos is available to help the fishermen.
But the amount of money “is not livable when there is no income coming in from the sea,” the article explained.
Some fishing organizations are calling for the government to purchase shark shields or other devices that emit electrical impulses that have been shown to deter white sharks. In addition, some local biologists have recommended divers not wear black wetsuits as they can make the wearer look like a seal. They have also suggested painting white stripes on the suits to replicate the pattern of the poisonous coral snake.
Video footage shows a great white attacking a shark cage with a diver inside it:
The great white shark is described as the biggest predatory fish in the world, per Oceana.
The great white “is known to be an aggressive predator and has an extremely muscular body, capable of chasing down some of the fastest swimmers in the ocean,” the website read.