Key Largo Diving & Shark Attacks – Fact or Fiction?
How many of you remember when the Movie “Jaws” came out? Well I don’t know about you, but afterwards I would actually see shadows while swimming in my backyard pool…this from a “Miami Native” who had spent loads of time in the ocean! This is a good example of how our minds can make us feel fear, even if it is unreasonable to think it exists! Sharks bring out a primordial fear in humans. The thought of being “eaten” alive… particularly when we are not in our natural element but are in the water, is terrifying to most of us.
This inherent fear came to my attention the other day when a group of folks came in inquiring about a “Discover Scuba Course”. One member of the group said “not me…I don’t like sharks” when I asked how many wanted to try scuba diving. So is this a rational fear for humans, and scuba divers in particular? Is there a decent chance that we could be attacked by a shark while diving? Well think about this…
Which seems more intimidating: a swarm of bees OR a swarm of sharks? It sounds crazy, but more people are killed every year by BEES than by sharks! In fact, your chances of being attacked by a shark are just one in 11.5 million, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File.
According to The Diving Blog…the chances of getting attacked by a shark are even greater than that! Check out the rest of their blog on this by clicking this link…”5 Things More likely than a shark Attack“. (I think you’ll enjoy it, I did!).
The Florida Keys are home to the only living barrier coral reef in the continental United States. Molasses Reef, arguably the largest and healthiest reef in the Florida Keys, sees the most divers of any site here. There has never….that’s never… been a shark attack on a scuba diver on Molasses Reef that I can find evidence of!
Sharks are mostly scavengers, and according to NOAA…
“Despite their scary reputation, sharks rarely ever attack humans and would much rather feed on fish and marine mammals.” NOAA
If you’ve been following our “Key Largo Diving Blog”, you know we’ve been seeing Caribbean Reef Sharks on a regular basis on many of our dive sites for a couple years now. This is a great development not only because it’s exciting to see them while scuba diving, but also because it’s a good sign of the health of the Florida Keys ecosystem!
One thing is certain, sharks are a critical part of the ocean ecosystem, and are endangered in many parts of the world as a result of over-fishing, including the grotesque practice of “shark fining”. According to “Endangered Species international“…
“The local fishermen I have spoken to in Southeast Asia, all have been fishing for over 15 years, told me that sharks are becoming very rare or extinct in their area.”
Pierre Fidenci, Founder of Endangered Species International.
So we’re ecstatic about the increasing numbers of Reef Sharks in Florida Keys waters, and for anyone out there considering diving Key largo, it seems pretty certain that sharks should not be a concern to your safety. What does seem certain is that humans are much more dangerous to sharks, than sharks are to humans.
Best to all!
Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo