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Shark Week: friend to the shark?

The month of July has been something for the sharks! We have had "Shark Week" with National Geographic, and NatGeo. I really thank both of them, the programs took sharks in the wrong direction, and put them back to 1975, which brings me to, we are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the movie "JAWS". Now ironically "jaws would have NEVER become the movie it is" had Peter Benchley known that it would make every fisherman, or crazy person go out and kill every shark they could. These are his own words. Peter Benchley in 1976 started donating to many shark foundations, and went public about the truth on sharks. To this day his wife is donating funds to help save the sharks.

Great White Sharks owe much of their fearsome reputation to the movie "Jaws", but confrontations are rare, with only 106 unprovoked white shark attacks - 13 of them fatal - in U.S. waters since 1916, according to data provided by the University of Florida.

Now, some facts about this movie we need to get straight:

  • Great White Sharks are not Rogue, this is marking a territory and eating what enters it. Great Whites are considered social creatures that travel in a group called a school or a shoal. When one Great White wants to take the other"s prey, both Sharks will display various slapping demonstrations to discourage each other. They try to avoid fighting because just one bite may disable the Shark permanently.

  • Next, you will not "need a bigger boat". Sharks do not choose boats for their diets, they will not eat a fishing boat. Sharks are known to accidentally bite a boat when they are going in to eat their prey the eyes roll back and they are blind for that second, so they may strike a boat by accident.Great White Sharks are carnivores. Their diet consists of small-toothed whales, sea lions, seals, sea turtles and carrion (dead animals).

  • Lastly, Great White Sharks do not make anything personal, they do not pick a family and eat them one by one. People are not even on their diet. Iron, which we have in our blood, and fish and seals do not, so when a shark makes an exploratory bite (Sharks do not have hands) it knows it made a mistake and swims away.

This should help in clearing up the fear of sharks and the facts and truth behind them. They are not monsters, or mindless eating machines.

Since 1975, when everyone went on a shark killing spree and many years after, great white shark numbers dropped horribly. Now with so much conservation, tagging, and to mention they are protected animals now. From what we assume and can study, is that it takes sharks a very long time to mature.

Sharks are very intelligent. Sharks have a tongue made of cartilage called a basihyal; they use it to sample prey, to see if it is a good idea to eat it or not.

They have survived for over 450 million years now, extinction is not an option for them. We kill over 200 million sharks a year, sharks may kill ten people a year. You have a better chance of dying from a coconut hitting you in the head, then a shark incident happening to you.

If you follow the information supplied to you on this application, there is a much better chance of people and sharks coexisting together in the oceans.

At this time great white shark numbers are decreasing in numbers per WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and are now rare due to years of being hunted by man for fins and teeth, and often as a trophy for sport fishing. The great white shark is often caught as by-catch as commercial fisheries and can also become entangled in meshes that protect beaches.

The elusive nature of white sharks and the lack of historical data about their population levels required the authors to rely on sightings of sharks, as opposed to other ways to count sea life, such as commercial fishing surveys and census counts.

The research adds recent unpublished data to previously published records to establish 649 confirmed white shark sightings from 1800 to 2010. The data show that a period of decline in white shark abundance during the 1970s and 1980s has reversed, the authors said.

White shark abundance in the western North Atlantic declined by an estimated 73 percent from the early 1960s to the 1980s, the report says. Shark abundance is now only 31 percent down from its historical high estimate in 1961, the report states. The report does not provide a local estimate for the great white shark population, which some scientists say is between 3,000 and 5,000 animals.

This study was done per James Sulikowski, "You should be concerned for a good reason," a professor of marine science at the University of New England in Portland, "We need these sharks in our waters."

We all need to do our part in saving these magnificent creatures we have been entrusted with to protect, and care for, not kill.

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