This Is Why You Never See Great White Sharks In Aquariums


Few creatures strike more fear in humans than great white sharks.

As well as having the capacity to make you shit a brick if you’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter one in the ocean, they equally fascinates us.

This is an interest that aquariums have tried to pique over the years, by capturing the shark and displaying it in their tanks – but to no avail.

A video by Vox explains exactly why and how this interest has been so deadly for many great whites over the years.

Ever since the 1970s there have been dozens of attempts to display the beasts, but most of these attempts ended with dead sharks. In fact, the longest a shark would survive in captivity was barely over a fortnight at one point.

By the noughties, the only group still trying – and failing – to do so was the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which ended up spending a decade in planning its white shark program.


It wasn’t until 2004 that one of the sharks it acquired managed to survive in captivity for more than 16 days – managing six months before it was released back into the ocean.

They then displayed five younger great whites for similar amounts of time over the next few years, eventually ending the program in 2011 following criticism over the sharks’ welfare.

However, this didn’t stop a Japanese aquarium capturing an eleven-and-a-half-foot shark and putting it on display. It died three days later.


The problem ultimately boils down to the fact great white sharks thrive in the wild.

They roam vast bodies of water, which allows them to breathe better than they would in captivity and of course they don’t end up crashing into any pesky giant glass walls.

So, there you have it. Continue admiring these magnificent creatures from afar and the species should be just fine.