How to avoid great white sharks and what to do if you encounter one

How to avoid great white sharks and what to do if you encounter one



Like it or not, great white sharks are wending their way north to begin their annual visit in Atlantic Canada and feast on their favorite snack—the region’s abundant seal population.

The forbidding predator—best known for terrifying a generation of beachgoers with its outsized portrayal in the film Jaws—typically returns to the region from July to November and has seen its profile rise in recent years due in part to efforts to tag and track the movements of great whites.

The attention and increased sightings in the region have also stoked fears of great whites and made some people jittery about getting in the water, particularly after a woman was allegedly attacked by a young shark off Cape Breton last summer.

The developments motivated Vanessa Schiliro, a marine biology student doing her honors thesis on sharks, to educate the public on how to avoid shark encounters and what to do if you spot a shark in the water. She made a video (watch the full video at the bottom of this article) and infographic of shark-smart tips to keep both species safe, while dispelling myths around the long-lived animals and reassuring land lovers that sharks are not out to get them.

Since I was young, I was always drawn to the ocean and really captivated by the power and mystery of great white sharks specifically. I love to surf, dive with sharks and spend time in the ocean, but I recognize that there is a difference between a planned and unplanned interaction.


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