From the blog

Local expert debunks misconceptions of sharks

Are you nervous about your next beach trip with all the shark bites in the news?

A Southwest Florida expert, who was just featured on the Discovery Channel’s shark week, says not to worry.

Sarasota-based Mote Marine Laboratory’s director of shark research, Bob Hueter, says there are a lot of misconceptions.

“When people hear the word shark, they picture something that was in Jaws,” Hueter said.

Hueter says most sharks are a lot smaller, only a few feet big and their presence in the Gulf of Mexico means the habitat is healthy.

“For example, without sharks there to eat sting rays, the sting ray population gets out of balance.  Then, people are getting stung by sting rays all the time,” Hueter said.

Hueter says the last fatal bite in Southwest Florida was all the way back in 2000, and that you have a little chance of coming across a shark here on the Gulf Coast.