I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked “Aren’t you afraid of sharks while diving?” or “Won’t sharks bite you while diving?”

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Photo credit: malik ml williams via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

I’m gonna write this in response and I guess I’ll just refer the people asking me these questions to this post. In a way, it’s gonna boost post views too eh?

Firstly, I would think that it is really difficult to see a shark while diving. Sharks tend to be shy and avoid divers. Of course, the truth to this statement varies and may not apply to certain places in the world where sharks are commonly seen while diving. But there are times that I have not seen sharks at dive sites where they’re commonly seen.

One of these instances happened at Monad Shoal, Malapascua. This dive site is famous worldwide for it’s frequent sightings of Thresher Sharks. I’ve dived here many times and have never been disappointed. That day was also my girlfriend’s first leisure dive after completing her Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications.

Understandably, she was anxious and worried, and the conditions that day were not helping either. The skies were gloomy with rain and the sea was choppy and cold. I assured her that everything would be fine, but deep inside, all I was hoping for was that some sharks would show up!

Unfortunately, there was no thresher shark sighted on that day, and that poor girl had the worst start to her diving adventures. However, the following days would yield better results, and she has now grown to love diving and appreciate marine life.

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My favorite answer to questions with regards to “man-eating shark” has always been this; if this shark is a man eating shark, then does it mean that the entire species will starve to death if there is nobody swimming in the seas?

With all these technological advancements, we have yet to fully explore the world beneath the waves, and new species are discovered almost every day, including sharks. Just recently, I saw this footage of a ghost shark or chimaera that was released by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Center. The footage was captured back in 2009, but this was the first time the ghost shark has been caught on film.

Sharks have been in the waters for millions of years, escaped mass extinctions, but yet, faces the greatest threat today, humans. Millions of sharks are  killed each year, and the misconception about sharks is not helping this either.It is about time we took the time to understand these magnificent creatures of the deep, and protect them from extinction.

The good news is that there are a number of sharks and rays protected in CITES Appendix II. This includes great white sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, and new additions to the list, silky sharks and thresher sharks.

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Hopefully, this will lower the number of losses faced by sharks and rays worldwide.

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