Are you afraid of sharks? If you’ve seen how they’ve been portrayed in movies over the years, or heard stories in the news about humans being attacked by sharks, perhaps you are. Sharks have fearsome reputations—but are they based in truth? Take our quiz below…you may be surprised at what you find out!
True or false: Sharks seek out humans to eat.
Let’s start with a statistic: shark attacks end only about five human lives per year, worldwide. Hippos kill far more humans every year—nearly 3,000!—than sharks do. People are simply not included on the list of what sharks like to eat. So why do they attack humans? Due to poor visibility, people in the water may look like something else to a shark.
True or false: Sharks don’t have any predators.
Killer whales have been known to prey on sharks. But humans, by far, are the biggest shark predators. We kill approximately 100 million of them every year, primarily for their fins. Fortunately, sharks have recently started receiving government protections that prohibit the practice of what’s called “finning.” The Shark Conservation Act was implemented by the U.S. Congress in 2011; more recently, the European Union adopted a strict ban on shark finning. Locally, the Seattle Aquarium urged support of a ban in 2011 on shark finning and trade of shark fins within Washington waters. And this summer, we joined other aquariums to support such state bans into federal waters.
True or false: There are too many sharks in the ocean, so it doesn’t matter if a lot of them are killed.
Sharks populations are decreasing worldwide, and not just because the animals are being hunted to death. Pollution and other factors are also playing a role in their decline.
True or false: Sharks are just big, brutal animals and have no real value in the ecosystem.
Sharks serve a vital role by preying on overabundant species and helping to maintain ecosystem balance.
Ready to learn more about sharks—including the species that live right here in Puget Sound? Visit the Seattle Aquarium for our Wild Sharks event, July 29–August 4.