SWIMMING WITH SHARKS: French diver Pierre Frolla, a four-time apnea-diving world champion, swam with sharks at the Paris Aquarium in France Sunday. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters)  
The thought of spending nearly an hour swimming with 25 of the world’s most feared underwater predators would be enough to give most people a panic attack, but that’s exactly what one French free diver did today.

With nothing to protect him triple world record free diver Pierre Frolla plunged into a 3million litre tank containing 25 sharks at the Aquarium de Paris.

He went on to pass the next 45 minutes in the company 16 black tip sharks, four grey sharks, three zebra sharks and two nurse sharks as spectators looked on nervously.

This wasn’t just a publicity stunt, however, Mr Frolla made the dive in order to highlight the fact that while they may have a frightening reputation, sharks have much more reason to be afraid than humans.

According to estimates, some 30 to 70million sharks are caught each year, mainly to meet demand in Asia for their fins which are wrongly considered to be an aphrodisiac.
The animals play a vital link in the food chain in both moderating numbers and cleaning the oceans.

Speaking after the dive, in which he regularly surfaced to take a breath, 37-year-old Mr Frolla said he wanted to give people a greater understanding of sharks adding: ‘People think sharks are a threat, but in reality overfishing has made them, not humans, an endangered species.’

He said the dive had been a wonderful experience: ‘The aquarium is a truly unique shape, the fish are very quiet and we were able to enjoy some beautiful interactions.

‘I spend much of the year diving with sharks in South Africa and the Bahamas,’ he added, but admitted that one should never underestimate these huge beasts.

He said: ‘These are animals that have codes and must be respected.’

Since 2007 the quadruple world free diving champion has been working on a documentary about the sea.

On the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean there have been eight shark attacks recorded in the last two years and three deaths.

In August an ecologist took part in a similar type of demonstration to Mr Frolla’s by bathing for an hour at the scene of the attacks.

Referring to the attacks near Reunion, Mr Frolla added: ‘It’s tragic, I’m not a defender of sharks at all costs, but there is a specific problem there between breeding sharks and surfers’.
SOURCE: Daily Mail

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