Great White Shark

Great White SharkDuunnn dunnn…duuuunnnn duun…duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn. Just listening to the Jaws theme song can make the hair stand on the back of your neck. If you didn’t have a fear of sharks before watching that movie, you likely do now.

As much as we fear sharks, we’re just as mystified by them, their size and their power. Heck, you can even follow and track the great white Mary Lee on Twitter. Our fascination with these massive creatures is why Discovery’s Shark Week has becomes such a cultural phenomenon. But it’s not just Shark Week, which is airing now through Sunday, July 12, that has us talking about sharks right now.

Sharks have seemingly taken over our headlines recently following several shark sightings along the New Jersey coast, eight attacks off the coast of North Carolina and a viral video of an Australian news helicopter trying to warn young surfers of a 13-foot great white swimming in their direction.

While shark attacks are horrifying, they actually don’t pose as great a danger as other health risks in the water. For instance, the box jellyfish, which is prevalent in Australia and the Philippines, kills people more regularly than sharks and are harder to predict or look out for. And, in fact, the actual water poses more of a danger to swimmers than the creatures in it – according to the International Life Saving Federation, drowning claims more than a million lives each year.

Sharks actually tend to avoid humans, according to experts.

Despite that, there are spots around the world that tend to regularly attract sharks in larger numbers due to the presence of seals and other animals that sharks prey on.

New South Wales, Australia
In general, Australia is one of the most shark-infested countries in the world. But in New South Wales, there have been many great white shark encounters recorded along its beaches, from Bondi Beach to Byron Bay. On those stretches of beach, there has been 171 unprovoked attacks and 55 fatalities. This spot is in close proximity to the continental shelf with very deep water close to the shore, meaning that sharks are able to come close to the shore.

Gansbaai, Western Cape, South Africa
This spot is often called the “Great White Shark Capital of the World.” From April until September, locals claim that visitors have a 99 percent chance of seeing a great white since this is the time of the year they arrive at this destination for feeding. In fact, Gansbaai may have the world’s most dense concentration of predatory sharks since another nearby site known as “shark alley” also attracts an abundance of sharks.

Second Beach, Port St. Johns, South Africa
A major South African tourist attraction is cage diving with great white sharks. Here, chumming the water with blood has taught sharks to associate humans with food. According to Surfers Against Shark Cage Diving, the number of fatal shark attacks has skyrocketed since the introduction of cage diving here in 1992.

Pernambuco, Brazil
In South America, Brazil is on top of the list when it comes to shark attacks and human losses – there have been 98 attacks and 22 deaths since 1931. And Pernambuco is the most deadly region. Since 1992, there have been 18 fatal shark attacks on surfers along Pernambuco’s 37 miles of coastline. These attacks made this section of Brazilian beach so notorious that surfing was banned. Part of the rise in attacks is attributed to the large harbor developed nearby in Boca de Suape, leading to overdevelopment and overfishing, thus depleting the shark’s natural food sources. The surfing ban was eventually lifted in 2006, but unfortunately there was a fatal attack shortly after.

Have you seen sharks recently? Tell us where!

Photo from Michael Rutzen/ http://ocean.si.edu/great-white-shark.

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About The Author

Nicole Jenet is a writer at Scribewise. There's nothing she loves more than the feeling of warm sand beneath her feet and trying new, exotic cuisine. Visit www.scribewise.com.

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