American Oceans
shark swimming with fish

How Many Sharks Are Killed Per Year?

In popular culture, we read, see and hear about numerous instances of sharks attacking and sometimes even killing human beings.

Classic movies like “Jaws” and “The Meg” depict sharks in a negative light and as threats to human life on the seas.

What if we told you that sharks aren’t nearly as harmful to humans as humans are to sharks, however?

There is some evidence in favor of this point.

How Many Sharks Are Killed Every Year?

An estimated 100 million sharks are killed per year throughout the world, a startlingly high number and one that is greater than the recovery rate of these populations.

More specifically, an estimated 6.4% to 7.9% of all shark species in the world are killed each year.

This figure, converted into hours, amounts to 11,416 sharks killed worldwide every hour.

In total, the global shark population has reportedly decreased more than 70% in the last 50 years, a further troubling trend.

how many sharks killed per year

Why Are So Many Sharks Killed?

Scientists point to one main contributing factor that is causing this rapid decline in total world shark population: shark finning.

Shark finning is a specific type of shark fishing, wherein fishermen hunt solely for shark skin and flesh, which in turn, can be used for merchandise, food and other purposes.

The rate of finning has increased dramatically since 1970, which accounts for the drastic decrease in shark population since then.

Shark fin soup is a popular delicacy in China and other East Asian countries, which rely on a consistent shark finning industry in order to prepare the dish.

In a cruel act, many sharks are then returned to the sea following their de-finning, with many of them sadly bleeding to death due to a lack of a crucial body part that enables them to swim.

How Many Humans Are Killed By Sharks?

The number of sharks killed by humans on an annual basis doesn’t even come close to approaching the amount of human-induced shark killings.

For every 100 million sharks killed per year, about six to eight humans are killed by sharks every year.

A 100 million-to-six ratio certainly doesn’t appear fair, and the manner in which popular culture depicts sharks to the average human being only worsens human perception of these sea predators.

In fact, you have 3,748,067 to 1 odds of ever being killed by a shark, very low by most standards.

To put these odds into perspective, you’re more likely to die from a major fall or even from home improvement tools.

It would seem like sharks should be more afraid of humans than the other way around.

sharks killed per year

How Many Sharks Killed Per Year: Final Thoughts

No matter what your perception of sharks is, one thing is clear: your chances of getting killed by one is close to minuscule.

Sharks are killed at an alarmingly high rate when juxtaposed against the rate at which they kill human beings, despite what popular culture may indicate.

An increase in shark fishing and finning doesn’t help matters, and efforts should be made to reduce these practices.

If you ever encounter a shark, don’t try to kill it. Instead, let these creatures roam the oceans freely in an effort to preserve their remaining population.

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