“You’re more likely to be attacked by lightning or by your own toilet than you are by a shark.” —Peter Benchley, author of Jaws
Though most sharks are predators, humans are not their natural prey. Of some 400 shark species, only 4 pose a serious risk: Great White, Tiger, Oceanic Whitetip, and Bull. The others generally do their best to avoid people, though several will defend themselves if threatened.
Sharks themselves are threatened by the world’s most prodigious predators: humans. Commercial fishing operations kill about 100 million annually. Shark meat is all too popular, as is shark-fin soup, for which these beautiful animals are “finned” and thrown back into the water to die. Humans have left some 200 shark species at risk and 20 in danger of extinction.
Tiger & Lemon Sharks. 20 miles off the West End of Grand Bahama Island lies "Tiger Beach," a sandy-bottomed area lying in 30 feet of water, roughly a square kilometer in area, inside a fringing reef. Boats anchor here, chum with fish blood & parts, and generally will be rewarded with groups of 30 Lemon Sharks and 3 or 4 Tiger Sharks. Tiger Sharks are justifiably notorious for being the second most dangerous shark for humans – and they are widely thought to have been the culprits in attacks on airmen and sailors shot down in the South Pacific during the Second World War. However, for reasons not yet understood, they seem to be more docile in the Atlantic, and particularly at Tiger Beach.
Whale Sharks. Whale Sharks are the largest fish on the planet, growing up to 45 feet in length and 40 tons. They can be found near Wolf & Darwin Islands in the Galapagos Islands, between Isla Holbox and Isla Mujeres off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, 30 hours west of Costa Rica at Cocos Island, north of Perth off the west coast of Australia at Ningaloo Reef, and off East Africa. They are an endangered species. The photographer's article on Whale Sharks can be found in Sierra Magazine.
Dusky Shark, with Rainbow Runner, near San Benedicto Island 04-1
Dusky Shark, with Rainbow Runner, near San Benedicto Island 04-2
Dusky Shark, with Rainbow Runner, near San Benedicto Island 04-3
Dusky Shark, with Rainbow Runner, near San Benedicto Island 04-4