À Guadalupe, au Mexique, de fin septembre à début novembre, les grandes femelles requin-blanc (Carcharodon carcharias) se rassemblent autour de cet îlot perdu au milieu du Pacifique pour s’accoupler. Elles sont sexuellement matures entre 20 et 25 ans. Sur cette photo, une femelle bien connue, Scarboard, mesure plus de 5,5 mètres. Steven Surina a eu l’extrême chance de plonger à plusieurs reprises, hors cage, avec ces géants des mers. © Brocq Maxey, Tous droits réservés
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Dive with sharks alongside Steven Surina – Insurance for Pets

The shark. It is one of the oldest animals on our Planet. He survived several mass extinctions. But today it is in real danger. Futura offers you today a unique opportunity to face your fears and go to meet him in the company of Steven Surina, a « Shark specialist, scientist in the making ».

“Among living beings, few arouse such terror as sharks. «  A deep voice. Freezing words. « It is with this film by Jacques-Yves Cousteau – editor’s note: « The great White shark, lonely lord of the seas « , 1991 – on the great White shark it all started « , remember Steven Surina for Futura.

Today rich with an incredible experience of the animal – hours spent every day in his company -, Steven is without question, a « Shark specialist  » Also « Scientist in the making » since he is currently working on a thesis in ethology, aimed at studying shark personalities.

But with diving parents, the one who was then only a young boy, already knew a ray on the world of silence. As well as the respect it imposes. “I was passionate about what I saw on the screen. Passionate. Fascinated. Terrified. « 

Because in the collective imagination, the shark is a monster. A man eater known since Antiquity. In the XVIIe century, a certain popular etymology even brings the term of the fatal requiem closer. And in 1975, the film Jawsdoor terror on the big screen.

But it is not in the nature of Steven Surina to be overcome with fear. « To get hold of the shark, to get to know it better, I first tried to draw it » , says the man who dreamed then, among other things, of becoming an illustrator. And very quickly, the need to go to meet him is felt.

« It is on the side of Egypt, in Red Sea, that I really faced this visceral fear for the first time. « Young Steven was only 9 years old. A decade later, he has already dived with a dozencash different sharks, always in the same area. « I only dreamed of one thing: to learn more and more about them … and about me »says Steven.

Sharks in great danger

By doing so, the diver, now monitor and naturalist guide, discover the danger that hangs. Not so much on those who find themselves nose to nose with the shark, but on the super-predator itself. At the Pisces bone, the rule in matter of reproduction is the external fertilization. Sharks mate as do mammals. Result: a fertility low. And an equally low survival rate after birth. « Nature is well made« , comments Steven Surina. “For hundreds of millions of years, it had thus succeeded in counterbalancing the predation capacities of the shark. It was without counting the interventions of men. « 

The presence of sharks attests to the good health of ecosystems.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ), about 60% of sharks pelagicare today in danger of extinction. First responsible: the trade in fins. A practice known as shark finning. The shark is what environmentalists call a keystone animal. « At the top of thefood chain, it guarantees the stability of marine ecosystems « says Steven Surina. “He is a true constable of the seas who instinctively eliminates sick individuals or bastard species. Without a shark, the development of all « lower rank » species would become anarchic. All of which ultimately calls into question the capacity of our oceans to store CO2 and to produceoxygen . The presence of sharks attests to the good health of ecosystems. « 

Yet Steven is convinced of it. It is still possible to reverse the trend. « Demystifying the shark is taking the first step towards its conservation », he assures. This is the work he undertook with Shark Education, an organization he created in 2011. More recently with the writing of a film intended to show, on the big screen, how humans – all humans – can venture into shark territory and learn to communicate with these super predators. « Most of the time, the shark’s behavior is not guided by some sort of murderous madness. He’s just trying to find out who he’s dealing with. « 

But all this belongs to the continuation of this story. Find it tomorrow on Futura …

This will also interest you

Shark Wave: extreme diving in the shark ecosystem Director Jan Kounen took part in the game of shark diving with shark behavior specialist Steven Surina. Shark Wave was filmed in the Red Sea (Egypt), off Hurghada where the Brothers Islands (Big and Small Brother) are located, territory of the Oceanic Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus). Here you can also meet the Fox shark, and sometimes the scalloped hammerhead shark. Watch the full movie:

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