Here it is: Shark Week 2020. This has long been one of my favorite times of the year, mainly because I have an excuse to profess my undying love for sharks for an entire week. Though this year, the week has been tainted by a sad and unfortunate tragedy in Maine’s waters. No more than a couple weeks ago, a woman was swimming off of an island in southern Maine with her daughter and was attacked by a great white shark. The undisputed theory behind the attack was that this woman was misidentified as a seal because of her wet suit and its exploratory bite caused enough damage for her to die of blood loss. It is Maine’s first fatal shark attack on record.
The media exploded around this event. While most articles published do a good job of explaining the rarity of not only being attacked by a shark but also the regularity of sharks visiting our waters and how normal this has become, there have been other articles that have sensationalized the attack and painted a negative portrait about sharks. It’s no secret that when Jaws was released as a summer blockbuster in 1975, it created waves of terror with the concept of a large predator stalking innocent people at beaches. People were afraid to go in the water. Others chartered fishing boats in order to go out and catch sharks in an effort to cull their own fears about these ancient beasts. It practically destroyed the great white shark population in the north east Atlantic ocean and has perpetuated acts of “shark culling” in several other countries, namely parts of Australia, and South Africa.Continue reading