Newsflash: Sharks Aren’t Trying to Take Down the Internet

posted: 07/13/15
by: Danny Clemens

The Internet devolved into panic last year after a video surfaced of a bluntnose sixgill shark attempting to take a bite out of a telecommunications cable resting at the bottom of the ocean.

After investigating the incident, the International Cable Protection Committee has officially called off the troops: as it turns out, sharks (or any other fish for that matter) pose little to no threat to the deep-sea cables that carry the World Wide Web around the globe. The hype around the video was heavily fabricated, as fish bites accounted for less than 1% of cable faults worldwide between 1959 and 2006. Since 2007, there have been "no cable faults attributable to sharks".

A bluntnose sixgill shark, sometimes called the king of the deep.

The first (and only major) recorded instance of a shark noshing on a deep-sea cable took place in the mid-1980s. Crocodile sharks were able to bite through the polyethylene sheath of fiber-optic cable off of the Canary Islands. Cable designs were immediately refined in order to provide additional protection from hungry marine life.

According to the ICPC, ship traffic and commercial fisheries pose a much bigger threat to the deep-sea cables. Nearly 75% of all cable faults have been attributed to ship anchoring activities, with "natural phenomena", cable component failure and unknown issues accounting for the remaining failures.

Click here to read the ICPC's full statement


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