Help Save Sharks
With 90% of shark species already down just in the last 20 years, the global demand for shark products especially shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy, is threatening the survival of sharks as a whole. It is estimated that 70-100 million sharks are killed annually just for this Chinese dish. This incredibly cruel and unsustainable act involves cutting off only the fins of the shark while it is still alive and then throwing it back overboard to slowly die. This wasteful process leaves the shark motionless on the ocean floor unable to swim and breath.
Sharks play a vital role in our ecosystems and are considered a keystone species. They help maintain a healthy ecosystem by eating the dead, dying and weak animals while regulating prey populations. The health of our oceans depends on a healthy shark population. There are a number of ways you can help get involved in protecting our sharks!
Become a concious consumer
Sharks face a variety of threats, and the global demand for shark products is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Consumption of shark products including shark meat and shark fin soup can have serious adverse impacts on human health, as sharks are at the top of the food chain and often bioaccumulate heavy metals and toxins. Shark meat is sold under a variety of names to mislead consumers: Flake, Huss, whitefish, Moki, rock salmon, surimi, cazon, and is also frequently used in fish and chips. Many cosmetics also contain shark liver oil labeled as "squalene", and sharks are sometimes even used in a variety of pet food and dog chews.
Know where your seafood is coming from
In addition to directed fisheries for the products listed above, sharks are also frequently caught inadvertently as bycatch when fishing for other species like swordfish or tuna although they are not the target catch. The life of one fish could cost the lives of many more, so it is important to support sustainable fisheries rather than commercial fishing operations which often have a lot of bycatch. Check out resources like Seafood Watch App which allows consumers to make informed decisions when it comes to their seafood choices.
Get creative and raise awareness
There are countless ways to help save sharks and the ocean as a whole, and you don’t need to be a marine biologist or have any special training or credentials to help. Anyone can make a difference, whether you are an artist that uses their talents to spread awareness, a business owner that can make a choice to switch to more sustainable business practices, or even just starting conversations with those around you and spreading awareness via social media can have a huge collective impact. The opportunities are endless, support general conservation efforts, and even vote for environmental policies. People can sign petitions to make their voice count and educate others about the threats to our oceans and ways they can help. Every person has a unique talent and even more, some people have precious time they can donate to a cause. Working together we can make a greater impact faster and change the tide for shark, the ocean, the environment, present and future generations. Be creative and get involved or just donate your time and your voice and do a social media post and spread awareness to as many people as you can reach. You can make a positive impact and while it may seem small it all adds up and every effort counts.