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Andrew Thirlwell / Moment / Getty Images

It's shark week, that seven day period every summer when our television screens swim with stories of one of the ocean's most fascinating residents. But sharks make headlines all year round. Here are some of the coolest shark stories EcoWatch has come across this summer.

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It's OK, I'm a filter feeder: Whale shark off Indonesia. Marcel Ekkel, /Flickr / CC BY

By Gavin Naylor

Sharks elicit outsized fear, even though the risk of a shark bite is infinitesimally small. As a marine biologist and director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, I oversee the International Shark Attack File — a global record of reported shark bites that has been maintained continuously since 1958.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Black tip sharks during sunset in Destin, Florida. Chandler Borries / Moment / Getty Images

Two separate shark attacks took place this weekend about 110 miles apart on Florida's Atlantic coastline, leaving two men injured, according to ABC News.

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Jag_cz / iStock / Getty Images Plus

More than a thousand sharks and rays have become entangled in jettisoned fishing gear and plastic debris, a new study has found. The researchers behind the study warn that the plastic trapping the sharks and rays may cause starvation and suffocation.

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Grey reef sharks. Joe Boyd / CC BY-SA 2.0

By David Shiffman

How can we better protect sharks and rays from overfishing?

These related species — which, along with chimaeras, are known collectively as chondrichthyans — include some of the most threatened marine fishes in the world. Sharks and rays face a variety of threats depending on where they live and swim, but the biggest risk comes from overfishing, which takes a noticeable toll on these slow-growing, slow-to-reproduce animals. As a result, nearly 1 in 4 species of chondricthyan fishes is estimated to be, or assessed as, threatened, according to the IUCN Red List.

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Grey reef sharks at Maui Ocean Center. Joe Boyd / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Hawaiian lawmakers and conservationists are pushing for a landmark law to protect the Aloha State's sharks and rays.

House Bill 808, which outlaws the intentional killing, capture, abuse or entanglement of sharks and rays in state marine waters, passed its first committee meeting on Wednesday. The upper chamber version, Senate Bill 489, secured its first committee approval late last month and passed a second reading on Monday.

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Great white shark. Elias Levy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By now you might have seen Ocean Ramsey's rare and jaw-dropping encounter with a great white shark in waters near Oahu, Hawaii.

Ramsey, a marine biologist, said on the TODAY Show that it was "absolutely breathtaking and heart-melting" to be approached by the massive fish.

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Mako sharks killed at the South Jersey Shark Tournament in June 2017. Lewis Pugh

By Rick Stafford

Just over three years ago, I was clinging to a rock in 20 meters of water, trying to stop the current from pulling me out to sea. I peered out into the gloom of the Pacific. Suddenly, three big dark shapes came into view, moving in a jerky, yet somehow smooth and majestic manner. I looked directly into the left eyes of hammerhead sharks as they swam past, maybe 10 meters from me. I could see the gill slits, the brown skin. But most of all, what struck me was just how big these animals are—far from the biggest sharks in the seas, but incredibly powerfully built and solid. These are truly magnificent creatures.

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Peacock Mantis Shrimp in its burrow in coral reef of Indo-Pacific. Sirachai Arunrugstichai / Moment / Getty Images

By Thomas Cronin

When you think about fearsome predators in the ocean, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably a shark. Sure, sharks are ok, with their sleek, menacing shape and their gaping jaws with rows of jagged teeth. But if you were a fish living on a coral reef or cruising along the shore over the sands of a tropical island, you would fear a far more terrifying predator.

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Marine Institute, Ireland

Marine scientists discovered a very rare shark nursery about 200 miles west of Ireland and shared a mesmerizing video of the find.

Back in July, the government-supported Marine Institute's SeaRover survey found a large school of blackmouth catsharks and what appears to be thousands of their egg cases, also known a "mermaids purses," at depths up to 750 meters (2,500 feet).

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Whale Shark. NOAA

By Joshua Learn

Sharks, rays and chimaeras are some of the most threatened fish in the world. More than 50 percent of species in the Arabian Sea are at elevated risk of extinction due to coastal development, overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction. According to an expansive new study, spanning more than a dozen countries, species like sawfish are particularly hard hit with extinction or local extirpation.

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The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) on Hikkaduwa coral reef, Sri Lanka. danilovi / E+ / Getty Images

Endangered green turtles are having a problem. They're mistaking plastic pollution for the seaweed they survive on, according to new research from the University of Exeter in the UK and the Society for the Protection of Turtles in Cyprus, as Newsweek reported.

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The most threatened mammals are the Scottish wildcat (pictured above) and the black rat. Andy Catlin / 500px / Getty Images

Brexit may have dominated the headlines in recent weeks, but another crisis is underway in the UK: One in seven of its wildlife species face extinction, and 41 percent have declined since 1970.

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Beachgoers enjoying a pleasant evening on Georgia's St. Simons Island rushed into the water, despite warnings of sharks, to rescue dozens of short-finned pilot whales that washed ashore on Tuesday evening, according to the New York Times.

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A Black tip Reef Shark, pictured above, cruising the shallow reefs of a tropical lagoon. Kydd Pollock / Marine Photobank

By Jessica Pink

Editor's note: Shark Week 2018 has kicked off! Before you dive in, take a look at three shark stories from the past week that you should know about. For even more content, check out six of Human Nature's most popular shark stories, including our exploration of "demon whale biters."

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Mexico, Guadalupe Island, Great White Shark (Carcharodon Carcharias). Dave Fleetham / Design Pics / Getty Images

As the Discovery Channel marks its 30th anniversary of Shark Week, it's important to remember that many populations of the iconic ocean predator are under threat from human activity, especially from commercial fishing.

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Up to 100 hammerhead shark pups were found dead Tuesday morning near Keehi Lagoon in Honolulu. Experts suggested that gillnet fishing could be the culprit.

Authorities at the state's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement have opened an investigation after the baby sharks were discovered by the La Mariana Sailing Club, according to local media.

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By Stuart Braun

From Rachel Carsen's seminal literary depiction of a poisoned world in the early 1960s, Silent Spring, to David Wallace-Wells' profound climate crisis treatise, The Uninhabitable Planet (2019), here are six essential cautionary eco tales and nonfiction environmental books to be enjoyed in the shade of what is shaping up to be another scorching European summer.

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A whale shark at the Georgia Aquarium. istolethetv / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Endangered whale shark fins were found smuggled into a shipment sent via Singapore Airlines to Hong Kong in May, activist group Sea Shepherd Global announced Wednesday.

The fins from the endangered species were hidden within legal fins in a 989 kilogram (approximately 2,180 pound) shipment that traveled from Colombo, Sri Lanka through Singapore to Hong Kong, which is one of the largest shark fin trading centers in the world, AFP reported.

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