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Shark Week Facts

Shark Week is approaching! It is from July 23rd to the 30th. As a reminder, Shark Week is a yearly educational special on the Discovery Channel. 
AOPA Pilot Gear

Its purpose is to protect sharks and correct misconceptions people have about sharks. Why sharks? Sharks are scary, powerful, and intriguing all at the same time. 

The concept of Shark Week began in the 1980s when the idea was written on a cocktail napkin by Discovery employees having a drink at the bar. The special started in 1988 but became a hit immediately because of the “Jaws Effect.” The “Jaws Effect” refers to the national fear of sharks the 1975 movie Jaws caused, so it’s no surprise that Shark Week became so popular. In honor of Shark Week, here are five fascinating facts about sharks to get you started:

  1. The sharks that live the longest in the world are Greenland sharks. Their estimated lifespan is anywhere between 250 and 500 years (wow)!
  2. Once a great-white shark grows to just over 8 feet long, they switch from a diet of small fish to sea mammals.
  3. Great-white sharks look for prey with high-fat content, like whales and seals, to maintain energy levels and body temperature.
  4. Great-white sharks are pregnant for 18 months and give birth to four to six “pups.” These “pups” are four to five feet in length when born!
  5. Most sharks have excellent eyesight. They have incredible night vision and can see in color.

I hope you learned something new from these five facts. My jaw dropped to the floor when I learned about how long Greenland sharks live! At this point, sharks are so ingrained in our culture that we have an entire week dedicated to learning about them. How can you participate? You can donate to an organization like OCEARCH, which aims to protect sharks because they are essential to the world’s ecosystem. You can also follow tagged sharks in real-time worldwide at Lastly, you can learn more about sharks by watching Shark Week, reading a book, or visiting an aquarium. Happy Shark Week!


AOPA employee Caroline Smith headshot at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland, February 27, 2023. Photo by David Tulis.
Caroline Smith
Product Marketing Coordinator
Caroline Smith is a Product Marketing Coordinator at AOPA. She graduated from Towson University with a BS in Business Administration. She has experience writing as a Marketing Intern at the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce in Essex, MD, where her work was featured in the Avenue News. She enjoys pet sitting, reading thrillers, and crocheting.

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Topics: AOPA Pilot Gear, AOPA Products and Services

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