Debunking Common Shark Misconceptions
by Elim Eyobed, age 10
There is a common misconception among surfers in which they think that since there are dolphins swimming then there must be no sharks around the area. An expert on sharks at the University of San Diego, Andrew Nosal says, “This is a myth.”
Additionally, another shark expert at Florida Atlantic University, Stephen Kajiura, agrees with Nosal’s claim. He states, “If anything it’s the opposite….If you see dolphins, more often than not, there might be sharks in that same area.” Since these aquatic creatures are most likely to be in close contact with one another, it could hint at the idea that they are neutral to each other.
Sharks and dolphins are carnivores, meaning that both parties usually hunt in similar areas. The misconception originates from the false idea that sharks and dolphins are natural enemies, hence the idea that they might not be in nearby territories. Although dolphins and sharks usually ignore each other, dolphins will occasionally attack sharks whenever they feel threatened.
There is no such thing as “shark infested waters.” The ocean is a shark's territory and their home, it is humans who trespasses a shark’s natural environment. A shark encounter in the ocean is unpredictable, however there are methods that can decrease the chances of one. It’s important to swim when visibility is clear, meaning that swimming at sunrise and sunset might not be a good idea. During these times, sharks aren’t able to properly tell the difference between fish and swimmers.
Additionally, one must avoid areas where sharks are mostly likely to be at. For example, cliffs and places where a lot of fish hang out and where fishing boats are. It's important to take precaution while swimming in the ocean.