Shark attacks are disproportionately sensationalized and sharks are vilified feeding the public’s unrealistic image of sharks. According to the International Shark Attack Files (ISAF) it is 15 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be bit by a shark, and 89 times more likely to die of being struck by lightning than dying from a shark bite. These figures demonstrate that the public perception of sharks is largely due to a lack of education and a distorted image fed to the public by mainstream media. The lack of knowledge about sharks perpetuates the continued over-exploitation and depletion of these species.
One of IEMANYA OCEANICA’s goals is to create educational programs that raise local and international awareness of sharks and encourage public and government participation in conservation efforts. It is crucial for nonprofit organizations to foster the change of the stereotypical image of sharks as killers and promote awareness of the ecological role of sharks and rays.