This piece originally appeared on Fix.com.
It is highly unlikely that you will ever be attacked by a shark. So unlikely, in fact, that the odds of dying from a shark attack are approximately one in 3,748,067.1To put that into context, you are more than 10 times likelier to die from fireworks and around 50 times likelier to die from a lightning strike. On the other hand, humans kill around 100 million sharks every year,2 so sharks have far more reason to fear us than we do to fear them.
In addition, sharks’ position as top predators is crucial to the oceanic ecosystem, and the number of threatened, vulnerable, and endangered sharks is a great cause for concern.3 A recent fisheries report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has revealed that more than 25 percent of the 1,000-plus species of sharks and rays are currently threatened by extinction, with 25 species on the brink of extinction and populations at critical levels.4 The practice of shark finning, which usually involves harvesting only the fins of sharks, is partially to blame. With humanity’s insatiable appetite for seafood, it’s important to know that many scientists have predicted the complete collapse of entire marine populations in a future in which sharks are overfished to the point of extinction.5