Marine history

We should learn to love sharks, not demonise them

Such a sublime, terrible beauty, the shark. Glidingly filled with our awe, as if those glassy eyes marked us out as a bite-sized snack from the start. Evolutionarily pre-lapsarian — they’ve been around for 450 million years — sharks are wreathed in a symbolic cruelty, theirs and ours. In one of the most vivid scenes in Moby-Dick, the whalers slice into sharks attempting to prey upon their prized whale catch; yet even as the fishes’ entrails spill out, the dying animals are so ferocious that they eat their own innards. It’s a terrifying, almost Jungian image of consumption that seems to echo the reality of their fate. William McKeever’s book