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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A truth hidden in the ocean

Por mayli2017

According to the International Shark Attack Archive, between 2011 and 2016 there was an average of 82 attacks per year, more than half of those unprovoked attacks occurred in continental waters of North America. Only 13 fatal cases were attributed to white sharks in Australia since 1870, according to Lea Gibbs, a geography specialist at the University of Wollongong.

Between December and June, two boats sail each day with hundreds of tourists on board who pay about US $363 each to dive in a cage to see the king of the ocean. Attracted by tuna bait, the sharks swim towards the turquoise waters where the Tasmanian Sea and the Southern Ocean come together. When the researchers interviewed those who were immersed in the cage, they talked about the great white epiphany. They described the shark as calm, peaceful and beautiful. Others found it inquisitive and curious.

According to a 26-year-old English tourist in Bluff, a coastal town in southern New Zealand, after immersing herself in an aluminum cage, to appreciate the great white shark up close, she said that when one is on the surface and looks down, feels fear before the unknown. But when you're underwater, you see that a shark is less frightening. When he saw it for the first time, it turned out to be larger than expected and more colorful.

Two researchers, the Indian Raj Aich and his British colleague Soosie Lucas, are studying how these cages impact the interaction of humans with this species. Last year they interviewed 150 people, from about 20 countries, who were submerged in the cage. The youngest of them was 12 years old and the oldest was 70. The research shows that those who were part of the study returned with a more positive attitude towards sharks.

The white sharks have dragged an image problem since the premiere more than 40 years ago of "Tiburón", a film directed by Steven Spielberg. The film shows a shark that frequently attacks bathers in a town in the United States. Since then, several generations grew up with the image of that monster that slides from the bottom of the sea to the surface, looking for human prey to tear it apart with its sharp teeth. Decades after the movie, that stereotype is perpetuated by television programs thirsty for audience.

Two years ago, a video of a diver who is saved from facing a white shark that gets through the bars of the cage near the coasts of Mexico went viral and generated chilling headlines. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed the white shark on its red list of vulnerable species. In real life, the great white shark can weigh up to two tons and grow up to six meters. It reaches a speed of about 64 kilometers per hour and has a reasonably long life. According to the specialist Craig Ferreira, the white shark is capable of explosive violence, but it is not an aggressive and bloodthirsty animal at all, and its behavior focuses on not getting involved in conflicts, it will only fight as a last resort.