top-rated free essay

Shark Attack

By edoo800 Mar 14, 2011 667 Words
shark attack
A shark attack is an attack on a human by a shark. Every year around 60 shark attacks are reported worldwide, although death is quite unusual. Despite the relative rarity of shark attacks, the fear of sharks is a common phenomenon, having been fueled by the occasional instances of serial attacks, such as the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, and by horror fiction and films, such as the Jaws series. Many shark experts feel that the danger presented by sharks has been exaggerated, and even the creator of the Jaws phenomenon, the late Peter Benchley, attempted to dispel the myth of sharks being man-eating monsters in the years before his death.

Shark attacks in New Zealand

New Zealand has a relatively high incidence of shark attacks. Record keepers differentiate between provoked and unprovoked attacks: sharks which have been speared or taken on a line will naturally defend themselves by attacking the person on the other end. Since 1852 there have been 44 recorded unprovoked attacks in New Zealand (compared with 39 in the whole of Europe since 1847). A third of New Zealand attacks occurred between Ōamaru and the Otago Peninsula, probably because sharks are attracted by the high numbers of seals, dolphins and pilot whales in that area.

Sharks to avoid

Great white sharks have been responsible for most of the 11 fatal attacks in New Zealand where the shark has been identified. Other species known to have caused fatalities are mako and bronze whalers. More than half of the victims were swimming, a quarter was snorkelling, and the remaining quarter were either surfing or standing in shallow water. However, the chances of being killed by a shark in New Zealand are slight: since 1852 there has been one fatal attack every 13 years. You are far more likely to drown than be mauled by a shark.


After a spate of attacks off Dunedin beaches in the 1960s, patrol boats and planes have been used to warn swimmers and surfers. From 1969, nets were also laid at local beaches; the programme was still in effect in 2004 at St Clair, St Kilda and Brighton beaches. In the early to mid-1970s, about six great whites were netted each year. Since then most of the sharks caught have been harmless. Opinion is divided as to the efficacy of the nets. Gary Barton, who was rammed by a great white shark off St Clair in 1968, said in 2004 that he believed the nets were still useful. However, Mike Barker of the University of Otago Marine Science Department argues that netting is not in keeping with international practices, which aim to conserve sharks. He considers the nets too small to be effective – they merely provide swimmers with the illusion of safety. Even so, popular opinion is in favour of the nets, even at the cost of $28,000 a year.

Because sharks have skeletons made of cartilage, they do not fossilize easily. That's because cartilage is softer than bone and falls apart before fossilizing. However, teeth are harder, and if that is not enough, they are shed throughout a shark's lifetime. Therefore, shark teeth are one of the most common fossils. Sharks existed for at least two hundred million years before the dinosaurs. The earliest shark fossils were scales, so could it be that the earliest sharks were toothless? We are not sure. Early sharks did not look like sharks of today. For example, the upper snout of modern sharks is longer than the lower jaw. But in early sharks, they were the same length. The first modern-looking sharks appeared in the Age of Dinosaurs. Sharks back then were preyed upon by giant sea reptiles. Just a few million years ago, a giant shark called Megalodon swam in the seas. It was 18 meters long, twice as long as the closely-related great white shark and it ate whales! Luckily for us, Megalodon died out 1.6 million years ago

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Shark Outline Example

    ...Title | : | Shark | Order | : | Topical order | General Purpose | : | To inform | Specific Purpose | : | To inform our audience about why sharks attack human, type of sharks that usually attack human and precautious steps on how to avoid from being attacked by a shark. | Central Idea | : | Even though the likelihood of you being attack by a ...

    Read More
  • Sharks Hug with Their Mouths

    ...Sharks Hug with Their Mouths When you hear the word “shark” what comes to mind? Razor sharp teeth, soulless eyes, and crushing jaws create a horrifying image. Hollywood movies and over exaggerated media stories have created a sense of fear towards sharks and led people to believe that sharks could hunt humans or atta...

    Read More
  • Tiger Shark

    ...of The Sea The Tiger shark, also known as the “wastebasket of the sea”(National Geographic), is the fourth largest predatory shark in the ocean, measuring between twenty and twenty five feet long and can weigh more than 2000 pounds. They have dark, vertical stripes on their bodies which is the reason they are named tiger sharks. Accordin...

    Read More
  • Spiny Dogfish Shark

    ...The Spiny Dogfish Shark Lab Report. BY: Jeremy Cotto Purpose We did this lab to further our understanding of Spiny dogfish shark anatomy and make the class more entertaining. People dissect organisms to find reasons for how they are able to do certain things. For example, the shark can chew through a great variation of things, because it has ...

    Read More
  • Tiger Sharks

    ...Tiger Sharks Rosalani and Romina Mr. Wiscott Modern Hawaiian History May 17, 2002 The tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, is a large (up to 18ft) predator found in tropical and subtropical waters world wide. Tiger sharks are one of the three main shark species known to attack humans, and are responsible for most shark attacks in Hawaii....

    Read More
  • Shark Attacks, and in a few seconds, a great white shark veraciously attacks him. This is what comes to mind when most people think of sharks, but they are not really just man-eating monsters of the sea. Sharks are a fascinating group of fishes that strike fear into the minds of humans, but they are nothing to be afraid of. There are over 475 differen...

    Read More
  • Natural History of the Great White Shark

    ...the Great White Shark (GREAT) WHITE SHARK: Kingdom- Animalia, Phylum- Vertebrata, Class- Chondrichthyes, Order – Lamniformes, Family – Lamnidae, Genus – Carcharodon, Species – carcharias [Martins & Knickle 2010] The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, which is also known as the white shark and white pointer, has, been one ...

    Read More
  • Bull Sharks

    ...Kyle Cosentino Managing Coastal Ecosystems 8/31/10 The Freshwater Shark: Bull Sharks and Their Movement between Fresh and Saline Environments Carcharhinus Leucas or bull sharks are the only species of sharks that are able to travel long distances and spend extended periods of time in freshwater environments. Although many people disagree, I...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.