Dal marine biology scholar creates video, infographic with shark-smart tips on nice whites

A great white shark cruising in deep blue water.

A fantastic white shark from Dalhousie College marine biology scholar Vanessa Schiliro’s shark-smart video.

Nice white sharks are headed north to spend the months of July to November cruising by Atlantic Canadian waters feasting on the abundance of seals that make their favorite meals.


With that in thoughts, a Dalhousie College marine biology scholar with a ardour for the world’s largest predatory fish not too long ago created a five-minute video and infographic to share shark-smart suggestions with Atlantic Canadians who benefit from the ocean.

Vanessa Schiliro needs folks to understand how greatest to keep away from encounters and what to do (and how one can behave) in the event that they do encounter an excellent white shark whereas having fun with ocean actions like swimming, browsing, or diving.

“I moved to Halifax about a year and a half ago and I started seeing a lot of media headlines about the fact that there have been increased shark sightings, that they’ve been tracking more sharks in the area, but I was seeing a potential gap in terms of what do you do if you encounter or see a great white shark,” Schiliro stated in an interview Monday.


“I realized that all of this news could be intimidating for some people, because they are big fish and they do tend to have a bit of a bad rap given their portrayal in movies like Jaws or how some media headlines tend to overemphasize the way shark encounters go down.”

A black and white photo of a young woman with long hair, side on wearing a dark shirt and smiling at the camera.


Dalhousie College marine biology scholar Vanessa Schiliro. Picture: Contributed

As famous in her info video, there are solely two documented shark assaults in Nova Scotia. One was a deadly assault in 1891, and the second was a non-fatal assault that occurred in 2021.


“It’s like bears, right? A lot of us go hiking, camping, many times over the summer and we know that there could be bears, we assume that risk. It’s very rare that that encounter will happen, but most of us know that we should stay calm and not do things to stimulate the bear in the case that we do see one,” Schiliro stated.

“I want people to start thinking about it in that way and to just realize that humans and sharks have really coexisted for thousands and thousands of years and very few bad encounters have happened.”

To assist alleviate folks’s fears and create consciousness that nice white sharks aren’t “mindless animals thirsty for human blood,” Schiliro’s video and infographic function fundamental do’s and don’ts meant to assist folks keep safer within the water whereas having fun with their favorite summer time actions.

A list of do's and dont's-shark-smart tips and advice for swimmers, divers and surfers in Nova Scotia from Schiliro's infographic.

The do’s and dont’s-shark-smart suggestions and recommendation for swimmers, divers, and surfers in Nova Scotia from Schiliro’s infographic.

Schiliro stated related info is available in different areas frequented by nice white sharks, together with Hawaii, California, and Florida. Her aim is to assist additional lower the chances of an encounter, and to extend the chances of it being secure if it does happen.

“It’s really about adjusting your own behaviour and increasing your awareness. Many people don’t even know that we have great white sharks here or that we have as many as we do,” Schiliro stated.

“I think that’s just a step one in awareness that when you get in the water, that that’s what could be there.”

Schiliro stated her fascination with the enormous predators features a ardour for what she calls a “rebranding” of the good white shark. She believes it’s vital to lift consciousness of the vital function they play in conserving oceans balanced and wholesome.

A bright infographic sharing tips on what to do if you encounter a great white shark in the ocean.

What to do when you encounter a shark, as taken from Schiliro’s infographic.

Whereas there’s nonetheless an extended technique to go, Schiliro is grateful for a current optimistic public shift that has many individuals buying and selling their worry of nice white sharks for curiosity, recognizing their fears are sometimes pushed by inaccurate film and TV portrayals.

“In movies like Jaws, that’s just not the way white sharks behave. Ultimately, it is a wild animal, and like any wild animal we have to be mindful of the fact that we’re always entering their environment,” she stated.

“The ocean is their environment, and so it’s up to us as well to increase our awareness and be aware of our behaviour when we’re sharing the ocean with such an incredible species.”

Schiliro stated sharks swim by people on daily basis and nothing occurs. In line with her infographic, texting and driving, lightning, and bees all trigger extra annual fatalities than sharks.

“Seeing a shark in the ocean, especially with all the threats that they’re facing today, is a really positive indicator for the health of our waters,” she stated.

“We should be happy about that and really refocus our efforts on ensuring we’re providing an optimal environment for them rather than fearing them.”

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