Sharks are some of the most misunderstood creatures in the world. Even though sharks have existed for thousands of years and long before humans ever walked the earth, most people know very little about them. What people do know about sharks are often myths and misconceptions gained through movies and outdated information. Unfortunately, what appears to be some simple and harmless myths actually can cost sharks their lives. As you will see in the below West, millions of sharks lose their lives and a large number of these sharks are killed simply due to myths and misconceptions that people have about sharks around the world.
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#5 – Sharks Are Man Eating Predators
The real fact is, sharks are only responsible for about 4 to 6 human fatalities each year. The number of shark attacks in total rarely exceeds 20 in any given year and is usually much less. To put things in contrast, about 4.7 million Americans are attacked by dogs every year. There are about as many people killed each year by falling soda machines than people who are killed by sharks. When someone is attacked by a shark, it is usually because the shark mistook a leg or other body part for a food source. It is extraordinarily rare for a shark to bite a human more than twice because once a shark realizes they fit a human instead of their desired food source the shark will swim away almost immediately. While this is unfortunate for those who are mistaken as food, you can take comfort in the fact that sharks do not appear to be territorial or aggressive towards humans in any way.
#4 – Sharks Kill More People Than People Kill Sharks
The very unfortunate fact is that human beings are responsible for tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of shark deaths per year due to the illegal shark fishing industry. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of more sharks are killed by accident during routine fishing operations. In the time that it has taken you to read the last few sentences, multiple sharks have died as a result of human behavior. The exact number of sharks were killed each year as a direct result of human behavior is not exactly known because most of the sharks are captured illegally and unreported. The widely accepted estimate is that between 30 million and 400 million sharks are killed each year as a direct result of humans killing them either on accidents or on purpose. This is resulting in declining shark populations due to the long just gestation periods (pregnancy) of sharks. They simply cannot reproduce faster than we are removing them from the oceans.
#3 – Removing Sharks From The Ocean Is Beneficial
There are some people who believe sharks should be removed from the ocean, especially if they are seen near human populated beaches. What these individuals do not realize is sharks are always swimming near human beings all the time and they rarely cause any issues. Sharks will usually stay further out to sea then where humans swim but they absolutely know when humans are in the area. Sharks also swim with scuba divers and snorkelers on a very regular basis without any real cause for concern. On the other hand, sharks are the top of the food chain in the extremely complex aquatic ecosystem and removing them from the ocean would have drastic consequences on the entire planet. The dwindling numbers that we are seeing in sharks is already enough cause for concern.
#2 – Sharks Love Human Blood
Everyone has heard that sharks can smell blood miles away. This is actually true and it is a remarkable sense that sharks have. If you are bleeding in the ocean there is a very good chance that a shark is able to detect that from very far away. However, there is no cause for concern. Sharks have absolutely no interest in human beings and the sense of human blood does not seem to have any correlation between an increase number in attacks. Scuba divers and snorkelers frequently cut themselves along jagged coral reefs on accidents where there are a large number of sharks presents and yet attacks do not seem to happen. There is absolutely no evidence to back up the mess that sharks love the smell of human blood and will come to attack if you do not leave the water quickly enough.
#1 – Sharks Don’t Get Cancer
This myth is one of the most dangerous of all. It has been believed for a long time that sharks are unable to get cancer. This is completely false and there is a nearly endless amount of evidence of sharks who do have cancer including tumors growing on all different parts of their bodies. In fact, the way sharks are put together, cancer can actually thrive if a shark does become unfortunate enough to contract such a horrible thing. This myth has led to the killings of millions of sharks because people believe that they can consume things such as shark fin soup or take special capsules or eat special shark diets to cure themselves or prevent cancer. This is most prevalent in Asian countries where it is still widely believed that sharks do not get cancer and by eating sharks you can possibly prevent or cure cancer in your own body. This is a very dangerous myth that needs to be laid to rest.