March 04, 2016

Sharks Don't Get Cancer

This is completely untrue, in fact there have been many documented cases of sharks getting cancer. Sadly, this is one of the bigger misconceptions in the Chinese medicine industry (where shark fins remain highly prized) and that is helping drive the severe reductions in shark numbers worldwide.

Sharks are Dangerous

Compared to other activities, the risk of being hurt by a shark is very low. You are more likely to be hurt by taking a selfie in a risky place like a railroad, cliff edge or top of a building. Of course caution is advised around sharks but sharks danger is merely a measure of risk.

“Shark-Infested” Waters

There is no such thing. This phrase is akin to saying “human-infested cities.” We live in cites, sharks live in the ocean. Let’s stop using this phrase.

Sharks are Unimportant

On the contrary, sharks are extremely important. They are apex predators at the top of the food chain. They regulate their prey species below them, and without them, these species may become over-populate, leading to catastrophic and irreversible change to marine communities and the overall fish supply.

Sharks are Man-Eaters

diving with grey reef sharksThere are thousands of encounters between humans and sharks every day that do not end in swimmers, surfers and divers being attacked, bit, or eaten. Thousands. This is the only proof we need to classify this statement as false.

Sharks Attack Humans

Sharks do not attack humans in the sense of a malicious act. Sharks are predators. They eat seals, turtles, whales, and fish. A few humans fall victim to mistaken identity, but this does not infer that sharks are lurking around and waiting to attack humans.

Sharks are Mindless Killers

You don’t make it to the top of the food chain and survive 450 million years of change by being “mindless.” Sharks are the opposite of mindless. They are smart, calculating predators. To observe sharks underwater is similar to watching lions planning their hunt. Sharks wait patiently for the right moment to strike, weighing the element of surprise with the need to eat. If at any moment they feel that the element of surprise has been lost, they will abort the attempt. These calculated decisions do not happen in a “mindless” brain.

All Sharks are Deadly

whale shark.There are over 400 species of sharks. More are being discovered each year. All but a few species have never even seen a human, let alone come close enough to bite one. Some sharks even feed on microscopic plants known as plankton. Yep— almost vegetarian sharks!

A Dead Shark is the Best Shark

With all the evidence presented here, how can this be true? Sharks are amazing examples of evolution. They are essential components of our ecosystems, and critical to our survival.

Some Sharks “Go Rogue”

To understand why some sharks attack and other don't, people have attempted to suggest that some sharks “go rogue” as solo predators. This idea satisfied the bloodthirsty need of fishermen to become heroes and kill every shark they could, usually following an attack. But there is no scientific evidence that a shark becomes rogue and actively seeks out human flesh. Perhaps it’s a fun concept for Hollywood or fiction, but not in reality.

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