Sharks and men: who is the real victim?

7 12 2010

by Alberto

Sharks are perhaps the most fascinating and mysterious creatures that live in the sea. They are divided into 440 different species. The most famous of them are the great white shark, the tiger shark, the hammerhead and the whale shark. Although there are many differences between those species, all sharks breathe through five to seven gill slits. They can live in all kinds of seas except for freshwaters. Their extraordinary skills as predators make sharks a frightening fear for humans, but are we really sure that they are so dangerous? Of course, shark attacks are the worst nightmare for every swimmer or surfer and the recent attack by a great white shark in Sharm-el-Sheik, which caused the death of a German tourist, makes us afraid of how dangerous these animals are for man.

However, if we analyse this carefully and look at statistics on shark attacks, we will realise that less than one person per year is killed by a shark. Even considering only people who go to beaches, a person’s chance of getting attacked by a shark is one ┬áin 11.5 million, and the chance of getting killed by one is less than 1 in 264.1 million. In every likelihood, the only phenomenon spreading in the last few years is not one about shark attacks, but one about the fear of sharks, fueled by rare attacks and horror films. Sharks are not aggressive animals, or at least, they are surely less aggressive than man. In fact, their survival is under serious threat from fishing and other human activities which force shark attacks that are, in most cases, just a consequence of irresponsible human actions.

We have to consider this and we must convince ourselves that men do not live in a world apart from nature: if we do something bad to OUR planet or to OUR nature, it will turn against us. If we respect sharks, sharks will respect us.