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Shark sightings off Playa del Carmen are common and without danger says biologist

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — After shark sightings in Playa del Carmen lead to a beach closure, experts say it is common. Pamela Vázquez, coordinator of the Saving Our Sharks foundation says shark sightings are a common event and generally without danger to citizens.

“We must understand that they are in their habitat and are part of this environment. They are wild animals, yes, but they are not the killers that people imagine,” she stressed.

The biologist pointed out that sharks have been sighted “forever” on the coasts of Quintana Roo, explaining that there are companies that offer shark diving tours.

She said it is unfortunate that people are unnecessarily alarmed by a natural fact that is very recurrent during the season, which is between November and March, when bull sharks approach the coast to have their young.

“If lifeguards see sharks they ask people to come out of the water so that the sharks can have their space, but there have been no incidents,” she clarified. “They are species that are key to ecological balance.”

She says that when people enter the sea, they are visiting since sharks are the inhabitants, “so people have to learn to conduct themselves,” she added.

“If we see one, we must remain calm. There are few incidents worldwide, perhaps 10 a year, yet we extract millions of them every year from the sea, so in reality, we are the predators,” she said.

“They are wonderful beings which we should try to conserve. They have personalities since they are highly evolved,” she added, noting that Saving Our Sharks has been in the state or Quintana Roo for 10 years.

Vázquez explained that there are companies who offer bull shark diving tours as a sustainable activity to finance research and eliminate prejudices against these species.

“Those who were able to spot them are lucky,” she said, referring to the authorities who saw the sharks off the beach of Xcalacoco earlier this week.

On Wednesday, sharks were spotted by lifeguards off the beach area of Playa Xcalacoco in the north end of Playa del Carmen, prompting a black flag warning and temporary water closure to swimmers.