A recent viral video captured off Australia's coast has sent the web into yet another bout of shark-related panic. But as is usually case, this story isn't quite what the scaremongering headlines – Exhibit A: Great white shark attacks jet skiers off Fraser Island – want us to believe. 

For a start, the shark in question isn't even a great white, and the animal got aggressive only after the passing humans chased it for a photo op. Observe:

The video was uploaded by Queensland local Libby Williams, who was out for a day on the water with her husband when they spotted the shark. According to the pair, the animal was not a great white, but a six-foot (1.8m) bronze whaler (also known as a copper shark). Excited about the encounter, the jet skiers chased after the shark in an attempt to get some quality video.  

“We clearly got a little too close!” the duo said in a statement. Not only is their behaviour considered wildlife harassment (and obviously unsafe for the people involved), but it's also dangerous for the unsuspecting fish.

Luckily, in this case, both shark and humans emerged unharmed. "No one was injured although the jet ski did get some small scuff marks where the shark contacted the ski," says the pair.

Personal watercraft operators are required to observe the same boating regulations as other powered vessels in Australian waters, including a restriction on "disturbing marine animals".  Moral of the story? Don't chase sharks. 


Top header image: Shutterstock

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