What is “Shark Week” anyway?

In case you missed it, 2015 Shark Week officially started last Sunday, July 5th.

The week-long programming event was started by Discovery Channel in July, 1988.  The intention then was to raise awareness and respect for sharks, though now, it seems to make even more people afraid of sharks…and definitely continues to raise Discovery Channel’s ratings.

Shark Week is now broadcast in 72 countries and is the longest-running programming event in cable T.V. history.

I am one of those people who have a fear of sharks (isn’t everyone afraid of sharks???).  Through my blog, I’ve learned a lot more about them, and now I do have respect for these ancient creatures.

For Shark Week, I am posting links to my blog’s shark-related posts, just in case you don’t watch much T.V. and want to learn more about sharks.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, contributed by Sean Van Sommeran

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, contributed by Sean Van Sommeran

My first post was about a 4,000 lb “great white” shark tagged off Ano Nuevo Island (county of Santa Cruz, California) in the 1990’s and caught by accident in the Sea of Cortez, Baja area of Mexico in 2012.

Sharks have low reproduction rates, and because they are terrific at foraging and as predators in our oceans, the low reproduction rate worked just fine for them.  That is.. until the introduction of modern fishing methods.  Today, many shark species are considered threatened or endangered, and some sharks in the U.S. are regionally extinct.  More here… 

Shark photo from U.S. - NOAA website

Shark photo from U.S. – NOAA website

And if you have ever wondered what the chances are of getting hit by lightning vs. being attacked by a shark on U.S. coastlines, there is a blog post with state-by-state details, from 50 years of data.  Excerpt:

Over the last few years, there have been shark attacks off a California state-run beach near where we live.  The most recent attack involved a 27-year-old surfer, in October of last year. Thankfully, the attacks were not fatal.

Of course if you stay out of the water, your shark attack chances are zero.  But for those who love spending time and activities in the ocean, and have a  fear of sharks, this post lists statistics and information that should allay your shark attack fears.  More here

And the rest of my shark-related post are:

Shark image Pacific from NOAA

Did you know…. fossil records show that the ancestors of modern sharks swam in our oceans over 400 million years ago?  That makes them older than dinosaurs!  Sharks have changed very little over time.

5 thoughts on “What is “Shark Week” anyway?

  1. The most recent mauling occurred off our coast just last week, LJ. It is a puzzle as to why one [board rider in this case] is a victim when so many surf the beaches on our long coastlines. Makes the resort pool very attractive by comparison 😉

    • Oh no, Ken… Australia definitely has a lot more shark encounters, and as you point out, because of your very long coastline. Do you know what percentage are fatal? I mean, is it more common that there are shark bites, but the swimmer or surfer/board rider survives? And is it the “great white” type that cause the most fatalities in your country?

      It does make the resort pools or lakes very attractive! Then again, you have crocodiles there in your fresh water as well. Eeeek.

      • I had to ask Dr Google, LJ. This article [link below] popped up immediately, so the answer is that about 25% are fatal. Also suggests the Great white is the main, but not only, culprit. I think the most recent was likely to see the guy with serious leg damage, but I’m not sure if amputation resulted. We don’t like crocodiles either, but without them [farmed] Hermes handbags would be less interesting 😉 It is the salt water croc that is most dangerous!
        http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2015/02/shark-attacks-in-australia-a-timeline/

        • Thank you for the link, Ken — great information. The shark zone graphic on what part of Australia had the most incidents was interesting, plus the information “According to the Australian Shark Attack File, kept by researchers at Sydney’s Taronga Conservation Society, there have been 979 shark attacks in Australia since records began in 1791, and 231 of them have been fatal. ”

          The thought of sharks in the water definitely bring up all sorts of hair-raising fears for many, no matter the stats.

          Australia’s average of 1 person fatality per year since 1791 is a lot more than in California. The data I found was only for 5 decades and up to 2010, and here, we had 89 attacks with 7 fatalities over the last 50 years. The California coastline is 840 miles (1,350 km).

  2. I don’t think I’m afraid of sharks, but that’s because I can’t swim and will never be a tempting ocean kabob to them. Have you ever seen “Jaws”? It’s a fantastic film. When it came out, I remember that it definitely gave people a fear of sharks. On second thought, it might not be so good to watch if you’re already afraid of them…

Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.