Fort Lauderdale, Florida (PressExposure) February 22, 2007 -- Hollywood and the news media have most definitely given sharks a bad reputation. Movies like "Jaws" and "Deep Blue Sea" and the news media reporting skewed numbers of Shark Attacks from summer 2001 through 2006 have given many people the belief that all sharks are man eaters and that whenever you're in the ocean you are at risk of a fatal shark attack.
First, let me share some facts regarding shark attacks and information about the Shark species and population.
â¢ There were more shark attacks in 1999 and 2000 then there were in 2001 which was named by the media "Summer of the Shark". And most of the Shark bites in 2001 were not for certain Shark bites, they could have been Barracuda or Bluefish bites.
â¢ There are 475 different species of Sharks in the world's oceans and coastal waters, only 15% of the shark species inhabit coastal waters or shallow depths where anyone would encounter these species. 400 of the 475 total species of sharks are smaller then 6.5FT in length and 50% of that 400 grow smaller then 3.5FT in length. It is not true that the larger the shark the more likely it is to attack Humans, the largest sharks like the Whale Shark and Basking Shark feed on Plankton and are docile creatures.
â¢ In all of the shark species, there are 4 species which have been responsible for 85% of all Shark attacks. The Species are the Great White Shark, the Tiger Shark, the Bull Shark and the Great Hammerhead Shark.
â¢ On a worldwide average there are less then 75 shark attacks per year and only 2% of them fatal.
â¢ What are your odds of being attacked by a shark? There were 58 unprovoked shark attacks world wide in 2005, out of that a total of 38 happened in the United States. The US has a population of 300 million, your odds of being a victim of a shark attack are 1 in 8 million. In comparison, your odds of dying from a fall down the stairs are 1 in 200,000. Your odds of dying from a wasp, bee or hornet sting are 1 in 5.9 million. Your odds of dying from a lightning strike are 1 in 4.3 million. Your odds of drowning in your bathtub are 1 in 800.000. Other causes of death with a higher probability then being attacked by a shark are: dying from an adverse reaction to antibiotics with the odds being 1 in 7 million, being killed by a falling object has odds of 1 in 400,000, being killed by an agricultural machine has odds of 1 in 500,000 and being killed in a motor vehicle accident has odds of 1 in 6,000. In comparison do Sharks still seem so scary?
Sharks do not plan attacks on human beings, Sharks are not smart enough to plot. Shark attacks happen because sharks become confused and accidentally bite humans because they mistake them as prey.
Almost 95% of shark attacks happen in 6FT of water or less, if you notice the geographical locations or conditions which they happen the attacks are almost always in areas where water clarity and visibility are poor. When the water clarity is poor sharks rely more on there senses which pick up movement and vibrations rather then there eyesight, so swimmers wading in the murky shallows rarely but sometimes get a sharks attention. Sharks don't enjoy the taste of human flesh or the smell of human blood, in fact when Sharks identify us correctly they will not attack unless provoked. Sharks sometimes bite humans because much like a dog who feels its food with it's mouth first before they consume it due to the fact they do not have hands as "feelers" to figure out if the food is edible. A Sharks mouth is it's only way of feeling and testing any object it finds questionable, unfortunately by the time a Shark figures out it doesn't want or is uninterested in the object in question it has suffered a shark bite.
Sharks are some of the oldest creatures on the planet, we should do our best to understand and protect them.