This month, SCUBA DIVING Magazine is running an article authored by our executive director, Julie Andersen. Typically their "Ask the Expert" section has two perspectives on any topic, but given Julie's interesting position on touching sharks - they decided to have her author both perspectives. The thoughtful article is below.
The topic of touching sharks can spark heated debates. And it’s an inner turmoil I also wrestle with on a frequent basis having spent hundreds of hours underwater with sharks. A simple Google search will quickly reveal many images in which I am brazenly touching sharks. Yes, it is something I did (and often still am tempted to do), but it is something I don’t encourage. In fact, just the opposite.
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Sexy time interrupted by a shark in your bathtub? Get ready… It’s happening in a bathroom near you. And learn 1) sharks aren’t what they seem, 2) sharks are desperate to hide from those hunting them into extinction 2) they can peacefully share the (bath) waters together – albeit killing the mood.
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Sharks kill fewer than 4 humans on average each year, while humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks annually.
Sharks have been honed to perfection, having existed on this planet for over 400 million years.
Sharks play a vital role at the top of the food chain by maintaining balance in the oceans.
* An estimated 73 million sharks are killed each year (that works out to more than 10,000 sharks per hour).
Shark fins are tasteless, and may contain high levels of toxic methyl-mercury.
Only a small number of countries have banned finning - many more need to be encouraged to enact legislation.
Many people assume that because they don’t eat shark fin soup – then they can’t possibly be contributing to the demise of the sharks and rays.
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