SHARKS: Oahu - An Ecofact from The Ecogeeks!
Should we be afraid of sharks?
Sharks have gotten a bad wrap in the last century. Movies like the 1970's "Jaws" have made us fear even getting in the water. There is even a word for the uncontrolable phobia and irrational fear of sharks. They call it Selachophobia and it affects people in the center of continents that have never seen the ocean. Is our fear of sharks rational?
To help us understand sharks better, our crew made a trip to Hawaii's North Shore to dive with Stephanie Brendl and Hawaii Shark Encounters.
She explained to us that we shouldn't believe everything we hear about sharks on TV. Sharks are often misunderstood. The bad rap that sharks are getting for being man eaters is blown out of proportion.
To better explain her point we were invited to get in the water with some 30 Galapagos sharks a few miles offshore from one of the most popular surfing sites on Oahu's North Shore.
What we discovered was that by simply getting in the water with them, we lost any fear we might have carried from the sharks. Instead we were in complete awe. These sharks were big but they moved so gracefully through the water. They weren't interested in us.
Today there are over 300 species of sharks! Of these most are fish eaters and there are only a rare few that have been known to bite humans.
If you start learning about sharks, you won't be able to get far before you realize sharks are in real trouble. They reproduce slowly and we're fishing too many out of the ocean for their species to cope with our modern fishing methods. Many experts even think several of the shark species will go extinct in the coming decades.
Our advise is this: Don't be afraid of sharks. Go out, learn about sharks, enjoy the ocean and eventually you'll learn that sharks are totally awesome!
written by Rob Nelson
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