Javea, a jewel on Spain’s Costa Blanca, offers not only stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, but also a fascinating array of marine life. One of the most intriguing and misunderstood creatures that inhabit the waters around Javea are sharks. While the thought of sharks often invokes fear or apprehension, the truth is, these magnificent creatures play a critical role in maintaining the health of our oceans.
Javea’s coastal waters are a part of the Mediterranean Sea, home to over 47 species of sharks, including the Blue shark, Shortfin Mako, Great White, and Hammerhead. Here, we delve into the world of these fascinating creatures, shedding light on their habits, their ecological importance, and the conservation efforts in place to protect them.
Also read: Dangerous animals in Javea
Sharks of Javea
The most common species found in the waters around Javea is the Blue shark (Prionace glauca). Known for its distinct cobalt blue color and slender body, the Blue shark is a pelagic species, meaning it inhabits the open ocean rather than coastal waters. However, they occasionally venture close to shore, offering lucky divers a rare sighting.
The Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), another species spotted in Javea, is recognized for its torpedo-shaped body and long, slim pectoral fins. Known as the fastest shark species, it can reach speeds up to 31 miles per hour!
While sightings are rare due to their preference for deeper waters, the notorious Great White shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and the unique Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) also inhabit the Mediterranean and are a part of the marine biodiversity of this area.
Ecological Importance of Sharks
Sharks, as apex predators, play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems. They regulate species abundance, distribution, and diversity, directly impacting the health of our oceans. By preying on the weak and sick, they also help to control disease outbreaks among marine life.
Regrettably, overfishing and habitat degradation pose significant threats to shark populations globally, including those in the Mediterranean. In response, Spain has taken steps to protect these creatures. In 2012, Spain, including regions like Javea, banned shark finning – the practice of removing fins from sharks at sea and discarding the rest of the shark.
Internationally, organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Shark Trust work tirelessly to protect sharks. They promote sustainable fishing practices, establish marine protected areas, and conduct research to further understand these incredible creatures.
Interacting with Sharks in Javea
For those hoping to catch a glimpse of these remarkable creatures, remember that safety and respect for wildlife should always be paramount. Keep a safe distance, avoid feeding or touching them, and never disturb their natural behavior.
Sharks, despite their fearsome reputation, are a vital part of the world’s oceans, and Javea’s waters are no exception. As we continue to explore and understand these majestic creatures, it becomes clear that our fear should be replaced with respect and our indifference with active conservation. After all, the survival of sharks is intricately tied to the health of our oceans and, ultimately, the health of our planet.