It's time again for Shark Week. Have you wondered what's happened to the ocean's top predator since you last tuned in?
First, the bad news. Scientists verified that about 100 million sharks are killed annually, up from the 73 million that had been documented previously. In contrast, sharks generally attack about 70 people on average each year, resulting in a handful of deaths. So remember those statistics when you're cringing in your seat during those Shark Week attack reenactments. Even some shark attack survivors, including me, know that sharks have more to fear from us than we do from them. Our survivors group actually works to save sharks. You can learn more about us here.
Now, some good news for sharks.
Three more governments have declared their waters as shark sanctuaries where commercial shark fishing is banned. French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France, protected about 1.8 million square miles where more than 21 shark species are found. Nearby Cook Islands did the same with its 756,000 square miles. Together, these two regions created the world's largest contiguous shark sanctuary, making it nearly the size of Australia.