It is the time of the year when temperatures rise along with the amount of beach goers and news of shark encounters. Although many may be fearful of sharks, there is one fact which is well known—the ratio of people whom experience a shark attack is slim and the truth of the matter is sharks do not purposely seek out humans to feast on. To a curious shark underwater, our bodies against the bright sun-filled background of the sky look like passing prey which the shark then hunts and attacks. In fact, sharks should be the ones afraid of us because around 100 million sharks die yearly at the cost of humans for the production of shark fin soup.
Why are we so scared of sharks? According to a recent Sanford study, the only uptick observed is in ocean recreation, human population and media exposure. In fact, the occurrence of an actual shark attack is slim and can be easily avoided if proper precautions are taken such as avoiding the areas which sharks tend to swim in search of their main prey—seals. However, this study points out a drop in shark populations, again, caused by humans. The scallop population around the North Carolina Bay scallops fishery has been depleted due to an increase of ray populations. As humans hunt down sharks, ray populations increase because their predators are dying off. As ray populations increase, scallop populations decrease because their predators are unnaturally increasing too quickly. This is a positive feedback loop the deems otherwise healthy balances in nature unhealthy causing unbalanced ecosystems.
By hunting down sharks, we are enabling significant repercussions in areas of otherwise healthy ecosystems.
Written By: Mariesa Outridge