Are there sharks in the Ionian Sea and generally in the Mediterranean? 


Are there sharks in the Ionian Sea and generally in the Mediterranean? 

This is a fairly common question from people who want to dive into our seas in the summer. Yes there are, but .. why not swimmers near the coast? Probably because there is a very good reason not to worry.

The Mediterranean is characterised by high relative salinity, warm waters and low tidal fluxes, which favour nutrient concentration, support the lower (in the food chain) species and conserve populations of larger pelagic species (open sea, sea fish), . At least 47 species of sharks live in its waters, 7 of which are dangerous or potentially hazardous to humans (out of 23 in the world).

But when we talk about dangerous sharks or any other species, we must separate the theoretical risk from the actual ultimate danger. Risk is defined not only by the severity of the damage (“Gravity”) in the event of an accident but also by the frequency of the risk (“Probability”), that is, it takes into account in addition to the criticality, the likelihood of a risk .

The danger for sharks is as follows: Death is more likely than bees, snakes, stray dogs or even lightning, rather than sharks ! Indicatively, over the past 51 years (1959-2010), the number of shark deaths in the United States totaled 26, compared to lightning in 1970! (details: International Shark Attack File). Ironically, it is even more likely that a person will be killed by a car ride on the beach than by a shark attack in the water!

Since 1847 records have been kept, that is, for the last 170 years , only 50 confirmed attacks on the Mediterranean have occurred, none of them in the last 40 years . There are 15 attacks in Greece, and only 2 in the Ionian Sea, and those in Corfu in 1951, 1956.

The factors that have made this danger a frightening event are the images of accidents that show strong bleeding, as well as the fear of man when he feels helpless to react, in which case sea creatures have the advantage as they feel better and move. into the water than we do.

Sharks are now endangered themselves by a range of anthropogenic threats: Overfishing (direct for sale fins or indirect fishing for other species that feed on them), Pollution (mainly plastic but also toxic substances leaking into the sea), and Degradation habitats. Many species of sharks are now critically endangered, with over 97% of their species displaced from the Mediterranean over the last 200 years. So sharks should be more concerned about what we do to them than we are about risking them.


Telemachus Beryatos

CMAS 3 Star Diver

PSS Technical Diver

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