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April 2020    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 46, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Keeping the Shark Myth Going

from the April, 2020 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

On March 27, the Daily Mail published a story, with video, of an unfortunate incident with a Malaysian tourist diver and Scarface, the resident female tiger shark in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji. Scarface has a dangerous predilection for feeling things with her mouth and managed to investigate the diver's head. The man was unharmed, save for a small cut, and a big scare. If it had been an attack, the outcome would have been very different, but this story had the ring of familiarity about it.

You see, the incident happened nearly a year ago, last May. In my book Amazing Diving Stories, first published in 2012, I described a similar incident. Naturally, it's both dramatic and frightening for the diver concerned, but for a newspaper to dredge up a year-old story and act like it's today's news says more about the predilection of the popular press for continually showing sharks in the aspect of JAWS than necessarily telling the truth.

We divers don't like Discovery Channel's Shark Week for demonizing sharks, and this rates right up there.

- John Bantin

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