July 14 – Shark Awareness Day

Posted on July 14, 2015

There seems to be some disagreement about when Shark Awareness Day is – is it July 14? July 15? July 17? – but I figure, with shark attacks being in the news right now, let's start as soon as possible and keep on talking about sharks all week!

So – are sharks a huge danger to humans? Or is it more fair to say that the reverse is true?

Believe it or not, even with North Carolina reporting (at the time of my writing) eight shark attacks in just three weeks (!). we are still much more of a danger to sharks than they are to us.

First, why would I say such a nutty thing right after typing “eight shark attacks in just three weeks”?

NOTE: This is NOT what
the waters of North Carolina
look like right now!
Well, scientists tell us that the sharks off the coast of North Carolina are not suddenly craving human snacks. Instead, weather and population booms in the sharks' favorite fishy food means that there are a lot more sharks a lot closer to shore, and they are snapping at splashing creatures assuming that they are fish. The shark attacks were not gulp-gulp-yum! sorts of attacks – instead, the sharks bit and then let go. We can assume that once the sharks realized that they'd bitten into such a relatively large creature, and/or that the creature they'd bitten didn't taste fishy, they let go. No humans died in these encounters. (To read more about the NC attacks, check out this article.) 

Also, when we hear that there are more shark attacks, we automatically feel that we are in more danger. But in actual fact, more people are in the water, so the RATE of attacks (in most places) have actually dropped. People in California, for example, are a lot – lot – lot – lot safer now than ever. Check out this article, which shows that an individual's risk has dropped by more than 90%!! 

So, how many people die in shark attacks each year? Last year only three people died, in the entire world, from shark attacks. Some years it's more like ten human deaths from sharks.

In contrast, how 100 to 270 MILLION sharks are killed each year by humans!

To really get this contrast, check out this infographic, comparing how many people sharks kill per year to how many sharks people kill PER HOUR. It makes the point! 

To find out more about Shark Awareness Day, check out this short video. Another shark day is celebrated in May; check out this post on Fintastic Friday.

Also on this date:

National Day in Mayotte

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