How the media misrepresents sharks

Sharks are often portrayed as fierce and aggressive animals where actually, that usually isn’t the case. There are 3 filter-feeding sharks including the mega mouth with its extremely terrifying look, yet practically harmless to humans. Falling coconuts cause 150 human deaths every year on average. That’s 15 times more than sharks! Most sharks don’t attack humans on purpose; it is usually provoked as humans aren’t sharks natural diet.  New research suggests Great white shark attacks on humans aren’t on purpose but rather because the predator has  terrible eyesight. It has long been thought that the reason sharks attack humans is because they mistake us for seals, which is one of their most common food source.

Shark finning is often wrongly presented as the biggest or even, only problem facing sharks although, this isn’t true. Shark finning is unsustainable and inhuman and was banned in the in 2013.The problem is it isn’t an exclusive threat and the only thing we need to do is to ban shark finning. The shark meat and oil trade is a large and growing threat to sharks but isn’t often talked about in online news articles or the news paper. With the trade rapidly growing and shark products such as cartilage and oil contributing to a market making over £76 million a year. To try to resolve the problem countries could start to ban products like shark oil which can be found in many cosmetics and fish based fertilizers which often includes shark in the ingredients.

Sharks can also be vulnerable to bycatch: the unwanted capture of animals when fishing. Trawling has the highest rate to bycatch not just for sharks, because any species big enough to be caught in the net will be trapped. While midwater trawling has the least amount of bycatch. 


The film Jaws’ release in 1975 had a massive impact on the shark species, as it made people needlessly overly terrified of these animals. Since its release populations of sharks have decreased by 71%.  More than 100 million sharks are killed each year and over 30% of all shark species are considered threatened. The ‘Jaws effect’ by large makes people believe that:

  • Sharks intentionally bite humans 

  • That human-shark encounters are always fatal 

  • And sharks should be killed to prevent future attacks

Although, one positive side effect of Jaws is the surge of scientific interest it inspired.  Sharks once mysterious, are now heavily studied     



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