Just the mention of the word "shark" still strikes fear into the hearts of most people. The word evokes images of huge man-eaters, like the great white shark in the movie Jaws, that attack swimmers and divers, tear them to pieces or even swallow them whole. Such brutal attacks can and do occur but not to the extent that most of us imagine. In 1995 The International Shark Attack File recorded 59 shark attacks worldwide of which only ten resulted in fatalities. When you consider how many millions of people work and play in the seas and oceans, such a small number of attacks hardly justifies the shark's terrible reputation. The fact is, sharks rarely attack humans, and when they do, it is for reasons which seem incompatible with our general perception of these creatures as ferocious man-eaters.
One reason sharks attack is territoriality. Sharks, like many other creatures, including us humans, are territorial, and we should be cautious when we swim, surf or dive in areas of the ocean where sharks are common. It is their element, not ours. Sharks are basically curious but usually avoid confrontation. They have a special body language that tells other sharks or large sea confrontation to keep away from their space. Of course, most of us don't understand these signals and if we stay too long in a shark's space, it may attack us. Divers who explore wrecks or reefs are very vulnerable to this type of attack.