Myths and Realities of the White Shark; Stigmatized Species

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It is believed that this species eats humans, however, its digestive tract is so slow that it only uses it for food that gives it energy, besides, it does not like the taste


“The white shark is the most stigmatized animal that exists,” says Dr. Mauricio Hoyos, an expert on this species. He assures that the movie Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975) had a negative impact on this species. “When this film came out, a lot of people wanted to kill them because they all wanted to kill the monster and have the trophy of the jaw,” he said.

The white shark has survived 11 million years on the planet, but, thanks to the human being, today is on the red list of threatened species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Although capture and sale of by-products are prohibited in several countries, a jaw is sold in China and the African coasts up to $50,000 on the black market and the fins set at $ 1,000.

In Mexico, the white shark is a species protected by the Official Norm 029 of the Semarnat, however, this does not eliminate the threats. Georgina Saad Coordinator of the Priority Marine Species Program of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) comments that although “it is prohibited to fish it, it may come off as incidental fishing “, that is, “although it is not your objective, it goes out into a fishery” get stuck in the networks. On a visit to Isla Guadalupe, in the Pacific Ocean, Imagen was able to see that there are white sharks swimming with fishing ropes tangled around their necks.

Since 2004, Dr. Hoyos spends five months a year studying white sharks on Guadalupe Island, the furthest point to the Pacific of all Mexican territory, 260 km from Baja California. It takes 22 hours of boat crossing to get there.

Supported by the WWF-Telmex Telcel Foundation, the scientist seeks to eliminate the myths surrounding the white shark. “To be sexually mature they have to spend more than 25 years, they have very long gestation periods and very little babies, people think they are monsters that are born very fast, that have many offspring,” explains Hoyos.

The biggest challenge is to make known that the white shark does not eat humans: its digestive tract is so slow that if you use it, it is only with food that gives you the energy you need, a human is very little. In addition, its taste buds are very thin and the taste of the human being does not like it.

Myths and Realities of the White Shark; Stigmatized Species

Hoyos explains that incidents with people and white sharks almost always occur with surfers lying on their boards, whose silhouette seen from below (a long, solid figure with four extremities) confused with that of their prey, such as sea lions or turtles. It bites humans, identifies them and spits them without devouring them, however, the wounds are so serious because the force of their bite is 1.8 tons, 3 times stronger than that of a lion.



Source: Excelsior