Today marks the official start to shark week, and what started out on the Discovery Channel has now been embraced by researchers and educators on the Central Coast.
The Central Coast Aquarium is doing it’s part to educate the public this week about the fish everyone has heard horror stories about.
According to the aquarium an estimated 100 million sharks are killed each year due to illegal shark finning… meaning a lot more sharks lose their lives to humans than humans do to sharks.
“We are just celebrating sharks… trying to educate people more on the fact that sharks are not really scary,” said Central Coast Aquarium Coordinator Kim Jeffrey. “They get a bad rap and so out of 450 different species… there is only about five that are considered to be aggressive.”
Mike Gallagher and his family are visiting the Central Coast from the bay area and said he was surprised to see how gentle the sharks actually were.
“You would think you put a piece of fish in there and the sharks would go crazy and they actually are a little bit more methodical about eating and you would think that because they are sharks they would be so aggressive and it turns out that they are not quite as aggressive as you might think.”
The aquarium houses four different shark species with the swell sharks among the most popular. These very swell sharks swim through beds of sea kelp when it is time to deposit their eggs so they stay hidden and protected before swimming off.
“When sharks lay eggs they are called mermaid purses,” said Courtney Gallagher.
The Central Coast Aquarium will continue to have educational lessons and activities throughout the coming week to continue raising as much awareness as possible about sharks and the role they play in the marine ecosystem.