By: Norazreen binti Abd Haris
Azreen works alongside the Content Team at WWF-Singapore where she is a Communications Intern.
Reports on shark attacks have been making their way into our news channels. With unprovoked attacks happening from time to time, a glimpse of the shark’s dorsal fin is probably the last thing you want to see while at sea.
Are there more sharks in the oceans now? Or is our fear of sharks misguided?
Here are some snippets on sharks you probably didn’t know!
Coconuts kill more people than sharks – Apparently, falling coconuts kill 150 people every year. That’s 25 times more than sharks! Fatal shark attacks are rare. With over 400 species, only a small fraction of them such as White, Bull and Tiger sharks are infamous for unprovoked attacks.
Overfishing pushes sharks closer to extinction – Almost 200,000 sharks are killed daily. While some species are targeted for their meat and fins, others are caught as bycatch. This happens when sharks get tangled in fishing gears set for other types of fish like tuna. To make matters worse, most species need a long time to mature. It’s a process that could take up to 26 years. They also have a low reproduction rate. That’s why sharks are vulnerable to overfishing.
Megalodon is not a myth! – These monstrous sharks were larger than a bus and used to roam the oceans millions of years ago. They fed on miniature whales to survive and went extinct due to the lack of food. This carries important lessons for us about the importance of protecting the food source of sharks, in order to save them.
Based on these facts, one thing is clear: sharks are vulnerable marine creatures. If only we could set aside our unfounded fears, we could protect them – and our oceans – better.
WWF’s Leader for Sharks and Rays Initiative, Dr Andy Cornish, was in town recently to answer some burning questions about sharks. Watch this video to find out more!