Several Caribbean reef sharks swim over a coral reef in the Bahamas in this image captured by National Geographic photojournalist Brian Skerry.
For nearly 30 years, Skerry has been swimming with and photographing sharks, including great whites, tigers, bulls, blacktips, and great hammerheads all over the world. In his first blog post for the Smithsonian Ocean Portal, "Swimming with Sharks," Skerry reflects on these exhilarating experiences.
Living in warm shallow waters often near coral reefs in the Western Atlantic, from Florida to Brazil, the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi) is the most abundant shark in the Caribbean. It feeds mostly on bony fishes and rarely attacks humans. Despite the shark's abundance in some regions, it has a high mortality rate from bycatch and is sought by commercial fisheries for its fins and meat. It is illegal to catch Caribbean reef sharks in U.S. waters. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the species' status as "Near Threatened."