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The 1975 film Jaws has a lot to answer for. Steven Spielberg 's epic, and its haunting music, stigmatised sharks as the horror killers of the seas.
But according to one ocean expert, the next time you go in the water there could well be a shark close by. Marine conservation scientist David Shiffman said that even if it can see you, you are unlikely to spot a shark lurking in the deep.
He explained: "Just because you don't see a shark doesn't mean the shark doesn't see you," adding: "Most of the time, they leave you alone."
READ MORE: Huge sharks seen in shallow waters as terrified onlooker screams 'get out' at swimmers
The Discovery Channel's 34th Shark Week has highlighted the number of sharks interacting with humans, with Shiffman saying: "It's measurably… the largest increase in Americans paying attention to any ocean science or conservation issue of the whole year."
Despite two swimmers recently being killed in separate attacks 600m (2,00ft) apart in Egypt, Shiffman noted that in reality there is little to be worried about.
He said: "If you go in the ocean and you a shark and it's just minding his own business, you do not need to be worried," adding: "Sharks tend to just bump into people in the water and sometimes do not even physically touch them."
Shiffman said the iconic film Jaws was responsible for the animals ' reputation as man-eaters, particularly its terrifying theme tune.
Film music historian John Burlingame said composer John Williams was fully aware of what he was doing in creating the iconic score, saying: "He wrote this fairly simple orchestral idea and then made it work over the course of two hours.
“So much so that now you can just play that music and people run screaming from the beach.”
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However, Shiffman pointed out that 100m sharks are killed every year, yet they are vital for keeping a healthy ecosystem in the oceans.
Many of the deaths are caused by unsustainable fishing practices, including intentionally catching them or accidentally when fishing for other sea life.
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