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Expert says sharks are “common” in UAE



Those of you who haven’t heard about the whale shark who was spotted in Dubai Marina obviously don’t have internet access (the shark even has its own Twitter account for goodness sake). However, although the animal has caused a social media frenzy in the city, ShortList Dubai has uncovered that sightings in or near the marina are common.

“They are regularly encountered throughout the Gulf region by people in the summer months,” says David Robinson, Chief Scientist of Sharkwatch Arabia. “The occurrence of whale sharks in marinas and ports on the west coast of the UAE is a common occurrence and this month alone there have been three individual whale sharks pass through Dubai Marina; this particular shark got a lot of attention as it swam close to the side where people could capture images.”

Only a few weeks ago we posted a video of a shark swimming just of The Palm Jumeirah, but the story didn’t get as much attention as it wasn’t in a very prominent place. The so-called Marina Shark, as it has become known, drew crowds of people taking snaps for social media, as it swam very close to the walkway.

Steve Kaiser, VP of Marine Sciences & Engineering at Atlantis, The Palm, agrees that this unscheduled visit is nothing remarkable. “We’ve seen many instances of this in the past with marine wildlife (especially whales and sharks) entering the marina because of its proximity to the open sea.”

What is strange about Dubai’s whale shark sightings, is that they usually live in extremely deep (and cold!) water. Steve comments that it’s possible for the shark to suffer heatstroke, though he assumes it, like the others, will move on pretty quickly. David is also keen to point out that there is little cause for concern, saying, “Whale sharks in the region certainly tolerate the warmest temperatures I know of, but their continued presence in coastal waters suggest they are fine with the water temp.”

And if you’re more worried about a shark attack than the wellbeing of the whale shark, don’t be, they’re are usually completely harmless to humans. So there you have it, all that fuss over a big fish.

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