I guess it wasn't much of a surprise to get mail about last week's shark stories - the one about two paddle boarders fighting off an aggressively inquisitive great white, and the one about the Monterey Bay Aquarium's annual portable shark pen, which floats off the Cove. A lot of readers echoed the idea that sharks are just part of life in the water. Several pointed out that, in years of surfing and swimming and kayaking, they have never seen a great white.
Regarding the shark tank story, Karen Jeffries, the PIO for the aquarium, wants you to know that the sharks who died in the course of being collected for exhibit were, in fact, those brought in by local fishing boats.
"A couple of sharks died after we received them from commercial fishermen due to the stress and injury from being caught in a fishing net, and despite the care we gave them."
I mistakenly described the viewing window of the shark exhibit as glass. It is acrylic. The shark who injured its snout (by bumping, not slamming) against the aquarium walls was safely released when it became too large for the exhibit, Jeffries said. Here's a site that tracked its release.
"The young white shark we released in January traveled all the way from the Southern point of Monterey Bay to the tip of Baja California—a journey of more than 2,200 miles that took him 700 miles offshore and to depths more than 1,000 feet below the surface."
It's impossible to read that without wondering what captivity must have felt like to a creature whose natural range is so vast. Here's a trio of shark stories from recent years: a well-written overview from the Christian Science Monitor, and two takes on shark captivity: one from the San Francisco Chronicle, and a more critical one from UnderwaterTimes.com.
Finally, here another web site from Jeffries: The white shark project.
Opinions and comments are, as ever, welcome.