Shark Week 2019: SC Aquarium wants to break stereotypes

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- How are you celebrating Shark Week 2019?

You may be binge-watching the Discovery Channel special with a bowl of popcorn. But, if you prefer a more hands-on celebration, the SC Aquarium is the place to be.

They have anything from trivia and scavenger hunts to special diving demonstrations. While the games may be entertaining, they also want to use Shark Week as a way to educate.

It’s no secret that sharks have a pretty negative stigma around them. Shark expert Meghan Galipeau wants people to understand that they aren’t all like the movie “Jaws.”

“Sharks get such a bad reputation living in the ocean, for being man-eaters and for just swimming around biting everybody,” says Galipeau. “They’re responsible for very few injuries per year in the world and there’s a lot more things that can hurt you like toilet seats or high heels than a shark.”

You may have heard the statistic that there’s only a 1 in 3,748,067 chance of being killed by a shark in your lifetime. To put that in perspective, you have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu.

I spoke with Meghan about misconceptions with shark attacks. She explained that many of the attacks that happen were provoked in some way.

What’s interesting about the SC Aquarium is that they have the tallest fish tank in North America. The “Great Ocean Tank” is home to 4 breeds of South Carolina native sharks.

  • Nurse Sharks
  • Black Nose Sharks
  • Sand Bar Sharks
  • Sand Tiger Sharks

The other species of shark that they have is the Chain Dogfish. Since they’re located in shallow pools, you can actually touch them. I asked a visitor what they felt like and he said “sand paper!”

The feeding process was fascinating to watch from the top of the Great Ocean Tank. Luckily, I was visiting on a feeding day because they only are fed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“People think about sharks probably eating all the time, but actually sharks eat once every 10 days to two weeks” says Galipeau.

The staff at the SC Aquarium is passionate about informing people about the misconceptions of sharks, but also to explain how vital they are to ocean life. Their jobs in the food chain are so important that the ecosystem depends on it.

There’s still so much more to dive into if you want to learn more about sharks. Shark Week activities will run until this Sunday, August 4th. If you’d like to see a full schedule of events, you can click here.

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