The Stigma Against Sharks
When it comes to sharks, most people would say they are afraid of them. Thanks to movies like Jaws and 47-Meters Down, society has molded a stigma of sharks that they are dangerous and live to attack humans in the ocean.
Sorry to break it to you but these sharp-toothed animals actually pose very little threat to humans. Statistically, you have a 1 in 3,748,067 chance of being killed by shark attack. There’s a much higher chance that you’ll fall to the hands of heart disease or a car accident before becoming a great white’s next meal.
The Solution? SharkMate!
Nonetheless, society’s fear of sharks is a very real thing. To help ease your worries, 15-year-old Samuel Aubin from Australia has created an app that notifies swimmers and surfers of sharks and lets them make the final decision of if they want to dive in or not. Aubin says, “I wanted to come up with a possible solution to assist beach users to make informed decisions.”
There have been frequent debates in Australia about how to deal with shark sightings with shark culling (hunting of sharks) being the only “solution”. Aubin saw SharkMate as an alternative solution to culling and taught himself how to code.
The app is called SharkMate and is only available on the iPhone. The app considers several factors like water/air temperature, rainfall, and past shark sightings to calculate a “likelihood score”. The score is a number from one to ten that tells you the chance of a shark sighting in your area.
Aubin is making the app even better by partnering with a local university and Project Airship. A blimp will now patrol the waters and send updates via push notifications.
The main reason Aubin created SharkMate is because of the stigma the public has on sharks. Despite what the media depicts, shark attacks are very rare. In 2017, there were only five fatalities from shark attacks.
Sharks are Friends, Not Food
At least that’s what Nemo would say! Ocean Ramsey is another person who advocates for shark conservation by swimming with great whites. As a marine biologist, she is aware of the large role that sharks play in the environment and the importance of protecting them instead of hunting them. She also swims with great whites proving that they aren’t as vicious as everyone thinks.
Currently, SharkMate is only available in Australia and reports on 150 beaches. Aubin hopes to expand outside of Australia and bring it to America. He also hopes to bring it to Android phones.