In 2016 there were a total of 107 shark bites reported globally. Eight of which were fatal.
It is not known for sure how many of these bites happened to surfers, but those that did, most likely occurred due to the fact of all ocean users; surfers are often those who spend the most time in the ocean in regions where sharks and good waves intermix. Sharks do not target humans as prey, if they did there would be substantially more encounters and fatalities. The prey of most large sharks are either bony fish or seals. both of which have a different blood/oil composition to humans. As such we are simply not a target that sharks favour unless in an unfortunate scenario.
Of course accidents do occur and these are often tragic and traumatising for the individuals and families involved - but most surfers/swimmers who have survived a shark encounter, do not blame the sharks and recognise that as terrestrial beings we are in their habitat. Most importantly as surfers we need to take precautions and avoid surfing in places and at times that sharks are known to hunt. As much as possible; avoiding this is our responsibility.
See our Safe surfing page for more details.
It is estimated in 2016 that between 63 million and 273 million sharks were killed globally.
They are caught in bycatch and in targeted fisheries all around the world for various trades, but most commonly sharks are caught for their meat and for their fins; a component of shark fin soup.
We consume sharks much more than they consume us!
Many scientists agree from the current global trend of decreasing shark species; that we stand to loose two thirds or more of all shark species in the next 20-30 years. Many are already threatened with extinction.
Sharks are vital to ocean ecosystems; as apex predators they play a critical role in balancing marine ecosystems over 400 million years in the making; their decline is having catastrophic consequences. There is a very real danger that shark populations will totally collapse and there is already evidence of this happening.
We have no way of knowing what that could mean for marine ecosystems, but scientists are predicting very serious consequences that will effect us all.
It is therefore in our best interests to support safe surfing and protect rather than vilify sharks; respecting the animals with which we are fortunate to share the waves.
Rather than be affraid of sharks it is clear that really we should be affraid for them.
SHARKS & SURFING
Its no secret that as surfers we share some of the worlds best surf breaks with large marine animals such as sharks, whales and even crocodiles......
Many surfers fear an encounter with these creatures - especially sharks and for most surfers the imagined threat of a shark attack always looms in the back of the mind and can distract from that perfect ride.
However shark encounters are extremely rare and fear of this within the global surf community can cause more harm than good for the shark species with which we share the waves.
It is important as surfers enjoying the ocean; to have respect for sharks and marine ecosystems, because healthy oceans need sharks.
HUMANS A THREAT TO SHARKS?
SHARKS A THREAT TO HUMANS?
Want to know more?
You can find more information about sharks and shark conservation on our sister website:
The odds of actually getting attacked and killed by a shark are 1 in 3,748,067.
In a lifetime, you are more likely to die from fireworks (1 in 340,733), lightning strike (1 in 79,746), drowning (1 in 1,134), a car accident (1 in 84), stroke (1 in 24), or heart disease (1 in 5). In fact more people are killed every year on the beach by sand than by sharks.
WE ARE IN THE GUARDIAN
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