SHARK MYTH #1: ARE ALL SHARKS BIG WITH LOTS OF SHARP TEETH?
Not all sharks are large, bulky and torpedo-shaped like the ones we see in movies. There are actually more than 400 different species of sharks and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the tiny 20cm-long deepwater dogfish to the massive 12m-long whale shark. The basking shark has tiny teeth that it doesn’t even use for feeding, and the horn shark also has molar-like teeth that it uses to crush hard-shelled prey.
SHARK MYTH #2: ARE SHARKS ALL MAN-EATERS?
Humans are not food for sharks. The sharks involved in incidents with humans are often hunting for similar-sized prey to humans, such as seals or dolphins. The majority of shark species actually eat fish or invertebrates, such as squid or clams. There’s a diversity of feeding behaviours: large filter feeders, such as the whale shark, strain plankton through modified gills, while bottom-dwelling suction feeders, such as the nurse shark, appear to “inhale” food into their mouths
SHARK MYTH #3: HOW IMPORTANT ARE SHARKS?
Healthy shark populations are linked to thriving marine ecosystems. Losing sharks deprives coastal communities in many countries of livelihoods, food, and tourism opportunities.
SHARK MYTH #4: CAN ANYTHING HURT SHARKS
Shark populations around the world are in rapid decline and are impacted by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and trapped in ghost nets. Sharks grow relatively slowly, take many years to mature and produce relatively few young. They also suffer from the large and growing demand for shark fins and the general lack of management of shark fishing. Populations simply cannot replenish at the same rate as they are caught and finned to meet market demand. Sharks are also often caught as bycatch in longlines, trawl nets and seine nets, and simply discarded.
SHARK MYTH #5: DO SHARKS ATTACK PEOPLE OFTEN?
There is an average of 6 shark related fatalities per year compared to hundred million sharks killed annually by people. Sharks are in all the world’s oceans, but shark attacks are extremely rare. In fact, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a shark.