SharkCam Lets Viewers Remotely Experience a Shark Attack
Underwater footage shows a Great White strike from six different angles
In the build-up to Shark Week on The Discovery Channel, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has released a video of a great white shark attacking one of their underwater vehicles. The REMUS SharkCam was outfitted with six cameras before being launched off the coast Guadalupe Island in Mexico. Keep going for footage of the attack, along with some facts to put things in perspective.
The first thing worth pointing out is that the SharkCam, unhelpfully called the “Jaws Strikes Back Cam” by Discovery Channel, is research. It’s programmed to home in on a signal from a transponder beacon attached to sharks and other ocean life at depths up to 100 meters (330 feet). Apart from great whites, it has also been tested on basking sharks near Cape Cod, and there are plans to use it with sea turtles and other large sea creatures.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to research and education to advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system, and to communicating this understanding for the benefit of society.
By all means, marvel at the power and speed of a great white attack, but remember that movies and media like to fan the flames when it comes to shark attacks. Between 2006 and 2010 there were 179 shark attacks in the U.S., with an average of 4.2 being fatal every year. That might sound bad, but compare that to the 30,000 people that need to be rescued from surfing accidents each year, and it makes more sense to be afraid of a surfboard.
Statistics are only so good in the argument against shark attacks, especially as the fear is so primal. But that leaves you with two choices; go into the ocean anyway and realize how quickly you forget about sharks, or stay on dry land. One options that is unacceptable is killing sharks to try and protect humans – especially when they are so important to the underwater world. For more proof, then read a little bit about Paul De Gelder’s shark attack story, and see why he’s on the shark’s side.
Images by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution