Many tourists who have decided to spend their vacations at the Black Sea, worried about the safety of bathing in its waters. The abundance of fresh shark meat in the fish markets is especially alarming to visitors to local resorts, indicating the close presence of sea predators. Are there sharks in the Black Sea? Indeed, some species of these fish have settled there comfortably. But do not hurry to change your plans for the summer holidays: read the article, you will learn whether sharks in the Black Sea are dangerous to humans.
Are there sharks dangerous to humans in the Black Sea?
The risk of a human encounter with life-threatening predators in the waters of the Black Sea is very low. Many densely populated coastal cities, heavy shipping traffic, numerous bathers – all this does not contribute to the attractiveness of the local expanse for the inhabitants of other bodies of water. Do not add to the popularity of this sea low water salinity and variety of edible fauna.
The offspring of fish, unadapted to large temperature differences, simply will not survive here, and adult predators will also not be comfortable in the cold season.
Therefore, large sharks like the White Shark, accidentally entering the Black Sea through the Bosporus, prefer not to linger here. Faced with an uninhabitable environment, they turn back to their familiar surroundings.
So far, statistics have not recorded a single shark attack on humans in the Black Sea.
What sharks live in the Black Sea?
Of all the many species of sharks, only the Katran is a permanent resident of the Black Sea.
Black Sea Catranes
A small fish, popularly called a sea dog because of some resemblance of the heads, measuring about one meter and weighing 8-12 kg, it has a standard elongated shape. The body, with its dark back and light-colored flanks, is dotted with small poisonous thorns. Cutthroats have an excellent appetite: they attack all smaller moving objects. Their diet consists of horse mackerel, anchovy and other sea creatures. It is not uncommon for crabs and small dolphins to get caught in the teeth of sharks. Predators feel more comfortable in the cold, so they live in the benthic layers, only rising to the surface at night.
In the spring and fall, these sharks, which live in the Black Sea, move closer to the shore, and in October they head inland again to give birth. Because of their outward resemblance to white and blue sharks, members of this breed are often filmed with visual magnification in horror films about underwater man-eating creatures.
Representatives of this species of marine predators are found in the Black Sea much less frequently than the Catrana. The cat shark (Scillium) is not a permanent resident of the local waters. It lives in the Mediterranean Sea and only sometimes swims into the Black Sea through the Bosporus Strait. Movable fish are not characterized by impressive size: their body length is no more than one meter. Depending on the species, Scillium has a dark or variegated coloration.
His mouth is wide, with small and sharp fangs. The tail is shaped like an oar and acts as a rudder. Predators eat mainly sea creatures living on the bottom – crabs, scorpions, mollusks, ringed worms, sometimes arranging a hunt for fish. The prey they prey on by hiding behind rocks or seaweed. Its sharp eyesight and developed sense of smell make it easy for the predator to find food, and thanks to its compact size and body shape, the fish is able to chase prey at high speed.
Other shark species swim into the Black Sea quite rarely and do not stay there for long.
Black Sea Sharks and Man
Divers and underwater hunters have the best chance to meet the toothy hunter in the Black Sea. The sharks that live here are highly cautious: they do not perceive people as prey, but as dangerous enemies. The marine predators have every reason to do so: due to the delicate taste and nutritional value of shark meat, they are often hunted. Their small size prevents them from attacking humans, so both katran and scillium prefer other foods.
There is another reason why people may not fear the local predatory fish. Despite their impressive size, sharks living elsewhere usually still hunt smaller prey than they do. Sea raptors can get into a fight with humans if they confuse them with other prey of similar size, such as seals, because it is not very difficult for them to cope with them. Since there are neither seals nor sea lions in the Black Sea, there is no one to confuse a man with, so the local sharks do not risk attacking such a large object.
Thus, the likelihood of a dangerous situation is extremely small, if the man himself does not provoke it, forgetting about caution and trying to get acquainted with the predatory fish closer.
A shark’s defensive reaction to an attempt to catch it by hand may be a strong bite, but it is not life-threatening, and whoever even dares to touch the catrun has all the chances to make sure of the sharpness and poisonousness of its spines. Especially often such troubles happen to fishermen who accidentally catch a shark in the Black Sea.
Who should we be afraid of?
In the waters of the Black Sea there are many inhabitants who can cause a lot of trouble to humans. These include:
- Jellyfish, dangerous with their stinging cells, with which they can paralyze and even kill the victim.
- Sea ruffs. The greatest threat to humans is the Black Sea scorpionfish – a ruff with poisonous fin rays that cause searing pain, fever, and in some cases – a severe allergic reaction. The predator skillfully camouflages among the algae and rocks.
- The sea dragonfish is a fish that stalks its prey by burrowing into the silt or sand, also with toxic dorsal fin rays.
- Stingrays are large predators capable of inflicting severe wounds with a sharp tail with a poisonous gland.
All the dangerous creatures that inhabit the waters of the Black Sea do not attack humans first, they can cause harm mainly by defending: if they are stepped on, caught while fishing or just touched.
Tourists visiting the Black Sea resorts can not be afraid of becoming prey to large sea predators: if they will be careful, the local sharks will not prevent them from enjoying their holiday. However, we should not let our guard down and forget about the other, more aggressive inhabitants of the Black Sea depths.