Let’s face it, sharks get a bad reputation. They are vilified in the media in both the news and entertainment, but they aren’t nearly as destructive as they are portrayed. According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), in 2016 there were only 150 reported shark-to-human interactions. A low number when you consider how many hours humans spend in the water per year.
Not only are sharks not the enemy, they are actually very important to the environment. Sharks are profoundly responsible for maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem. As an apex predator they control species’ populations which maintains the ecosystem’s balance and diversity. They also provide a food source for scavengers and keep prey species healthy by taking out the sick and weak individuals. Misunderstanding the role sharks play in their ecosystem and interpreting them as a threat can create problems not only for the environment, but also for the economy that depends on that environment.
Today we celebrate sharks, especially those who live in the Pacific Northwest. Of the known 400 + species of sharks, approximately 30 species either live or have been seen in the coastal waters of Washington State (most preferring deeper waters), and 11 have been spotted in the Puget Sound!
For Shark Awareness Day we picked 3 of our favorite locals to highlight: