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Photo of the Week

Featuring images from the Marine Photobank, these Photo of the Week stories highlight ocean issues as well as the ability of visual media to promote ocean conservation. Would you like see one of your images as a Photo of the Week? Please become a contributing member of the Marine Photobank and let your photos work on behalf of the ocean.

Bull Shark Dance

Fiona Ayerst/Marine Photobank
Fiona Ayerst/Marine Photobank

"Diving in Southern Mozambique, my buddies and I were lucky enough to have an interaction with five bull sharks in the water at one time. We call these sharks Zambezi's here in South Africa. These sharks often congregate on in-shore pinnacles and on this particular occasion the water was thick with schooling deep-water fish. The sharks were excited by the activity and food in the water and were swimming around each other and sometimes seemed to be herding the fish. At the time I took this photo, one shark had just turned away from me whilst another was still heading towards me and I captured what I call a yin-yang moment: two muscular fish of the utmost power and beauty, in perfect symmetry with each other. I was lucky to have my dive buddy positioned at the back and away from the sharks giving a great 3D perspective and making the sharks look massive. They were big sharks anyway at about nine feet (three meters) each!

Why dive with sharks like this some may ask? Sharksare beautiful, majestic creatures that are able to interact with humans with non-threatening curiosity. Sharks are far more under threat from man, than the other way around. Each year, more than 100 million sharks are plundered from the ocean, mostly for the shark fin trade. Yet, in spite of their vicious reputation, sharks do not usually attack humans. In 2010, the International Shark Attack File reported six human deaths worldwide resulted from shark attacks.

Should you be afraid of sharks? Of course. You should be aware of them and respect them for what they are—wild animals. But this fear should be in context, and lead to a healthy respect and admiration, which can be obtained by interacting with them in their own domain. Those of us who enjoy swimming with them in part to try to debunk the myths that have been perpetuated about sharks can only hope that future generations will have the privilege of doing the same. "

Fiona Ayerst, Underwater Photograper