REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – Just the thought of sharks could keep some people from even thinking about going in the ocean. But one local marine scientist is on a mission to get those types of people to get to know what they fear.
She does that by inviting people to take a tour with her.
Apryl Boyle calls the tours Shark Eco Tour.
“The general public seems to be like, ‘Oh no shark,’” said Boyle.
It’s that fear that fuels the marine scientist to do what she does by taking them out on the water.
“We want to show people that sharks aren’t so scary,” she said.
That’s why she started the nonprofit El Porto Shark, named after her hometown surf spot in the South Bay in Manhattan Beach. The nonprofit is dedicated to ocean and shark conservation through research, education, and action.
One way she does that is by offering the tours. Getting people out on the water to learn, see, and do.
From showing them shark jaws, to having them collect shark DNA from the water using a drill, she invites people to help out and enjoy themselves on the water.
The samples collected during a recent tour were tested in a lab in Northern California. The samples showed no Great White Shark DNA. Several researchers in Southern California say not as many great whites have been seen this season locally.
Boyle says one reason could be the shark’s number one predator.
“Humans kill over 11,000 sharks every hour," said Boyle. "Over 100,00,000 every year die from commercial fishing, finning, fear.”
That statistic is from a 2010 study out of Novia Scotia.
Some researchers say that number may be an overestimate and may include more species than just sharks. Some scientists maintain certain shark populations have even made a rebound in some areas.
Boyle says what’s undeniable is when it comes to sharks, it’s not like what you see on TV.
“So you see that one hour on ‘Shark Week’ where they see sharks nonstop. Well that’s not how it works,” she said.
The marine scientist says she hopes to teach people how sharks play a vital role in the marine ecosystem. And every effort should be made to save them because she says sharks can’t be bred and put back in the water.