Shark researcher helps debunk shark myths

Posted at 11:33 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-13 09:32:59-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The first lesson about sharks is they are always some in the water, even when you don’t see them.

That’s a cardinal truth to Apryl DeLancey of El Porto Shark. The shark researcher studies shark populations and great white sharks are dominating the conversation.

“They're not just the killing machines like in Jaws,” DeLancey said.

The killing machine myth is one she’s dedicated to debunking. One that’s got many worked up after the April 29 shark bite that sent a mother of three to the hospital.

DeLancey says to defend yourself in shark attacks, don’t go for the nose, the best thing to do is go for the eyes or gills. But in most cases, you won’t have to.


“When they bite a person they spit them out,” she said, emphasizing people are not part of their diet. “Mostly a great white shark's diet consists of very fatty animals and that would be seals and sea lions."  

It’s those prey that she thinks the sharks are chasing closer to the shoreline.

“Depending on how hungry they are, they could follow other things that are following other things," she said. 

DeLancey says last year, sharks were seen feeding three miles from the shoreline but this year, they've been seen feeding as close as 100 yards.

And several videos shot in Southern California show them closer than that. DeLancey says it’s a trend that we may all have to get used to, because, with the help of environmental protection laws, marine life seems to be flourishing, including sharks.

“We're seeing a lot more baby great white sharks," she said. "So it's a good sign the ocean is healthy."

But if you're still looking for a little peace of mind when it comes to venturing into the water, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends:

  • Stay in groups and don't wander too far from shore because this would isolate you and decrease your chances of being rescued.
  • Don't go in the water early in the water or in the dark/twilight hours when sharks are most active.
  • Don't go in the water if you're bleeding.
  • Don't wear shiny jewelry in the water because it resembles fish scales in the water.
  • Avoid bright colored clothing.
  • Don't splash too much.
  • Don't go in the water if sharks are known to be present so heed those shark warnings.

Check out 10News's Facebook Live of a group of sharks swimming along Long Beach this past week: