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Shark Week- An Incredible Staple of the American Summer

It’s safe to say millions avoid swimming in the ocean waters each year because of their extreme fear of experiencing an unwelcome encounter with what has been portrayed for years as the sea’s most intimidating creature.

Throughout time, bad publicity and films like Jaws have made people even more aware and fearful of shark attacks; where in actuality, dogs or bees attack more people each year than sharks.

It is very rare that a shark kills a person. Deaths caused by shark attacks have happened maybe a handful of times each year, and not because the shark has devoured its victim, but because he/she has died from severe bleeding.

Shark Week is annually the longest running cable TV programming event, and continues to pick up speed each year. Are you one who waits in anticipation of Shark Week each year; or one of millions who avoids tuning in because of your amplified fear of this apex creature?

With the summer months being a high-peak beach time for millions of Americans, it’s no coincidence that Shark Week is hosted during this time each year.

Why We Really Do Need Sharks

Learn why we actually need sharks, and how their extinction would essentially leave us in deep trouble.

  • Sharks support healthy fisheries that provide people with food and jobs. They’re essential to the balance of marine ecosystems and prevent overpopulation of other species.
  • Sharks boost local economies through ecotourism. Shark diving, swimming, and viewing generate around $314 million in the United States each year, making sharks more valuable alive than hunted.
  • Just like trees, sharks can store carbon in their bodies, keeping the greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere.
  • Scientific study of sharks and their DNA has led to medical breakthroughs and treatments for viruses, cystic fibrosis and some forms of cancer.
  • Shark anatomy — from its skin and tail to its speed — inspires smart design for products such as watercraft, cars and water turbines.

Getting to Know Sharks

With the negative media publicity surrounding sharks over the years, many overlook the amazing aspects of these beings.  Below are some common questions about sharks:

How does a shark breathe?

Answer: Sharks breathe by extracting oxygen when seawater passes through their gills. Water passes through their gills while they are swimming making it impossible for most of them to stay still as otherwise they would drown.

How many teeth does a Great White Shark have?

Answer: The amount of teeth sharks have vary according to the species, from 5 to 15 rows of teeth in each jaw. When a shark’s teeth fall, the tooth behind moves up to replace them.

How does global warming affect sharks?

Answer: climate change has made it difficult for sharks to continue living their peaceful existence. It has also increased the tensions among them and humans. As the temperatures of the water increase, sharks may move into locations where they will be more comfortable. This means they can be present in areas where people are fishing, boating, and swimming.

Enjoy learning more interesting facts about these incredible sea creatures during Shark Week! 

MedicAlert Team Member