We love sharks. Sharks are important. Sharks are apex predators, meaning they sit at the top of their food chain, and they play a critical role in the overall health of our oceans.
…and they are being erased by humans.
In fact, we are killing them so rapidly, that certain species have seen a mind-boggling 99% decline in population over the last 50 years. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every single year thanks to human activity.
Many of us want to do more to help stop these senseless and dangerous killings, but do not quite know how to. So we’ve put together a list of 5 simple things you can do to help protect our finned friends!
What you can do to help
1. Refuse shark products. Not only does this include shark meat, but extends to the many products on the market containing shark. Shark cartilage and oils are found in many health supplements (for pets and humans alike), beauty supplies, and more. By not financially supporting any companies who use shark or their byproducts, you put your money where your mouth is! The less demand for shark products, the less supply.
2. Reduce consumption of seafood. An estimated 50 million sharks are caught unintentionally each year through bycatch. Commercial fishing kills. It reduces the populations of their food sources as well, especially sharks that rely on fish as their primary food source. Reducing your consumption of seafood reduces the number of sharks killed each year in turn.
3. Donate, volunteer, and go diving with Sharks. In doing so, you are showing the world, governments, organizations, and the public that you care for these creatures more when alive than dead. There are hundreds of organizations working endlessly on shark conservation. These organizations educate people, stop the slaughter of sharks, and change legal policy to implement protections for these animals. If you have some spare time or money, you can volunteer or donate to a shark conservation group.
4. Get Educated. Learn about the different ways that humans are driving shark extinctions. By educating yourself on the issues, your mind will begin to wonder how you can become more active and help. Chances are, you are reading this article because you care. By becoming educated in conservation, you will become an advocate and inform others as well.
5. Raise awareness! You never know who you will inspire in doing so. The right person who watches the right video or reads the right article at the right time, can be the domino that sparks an entire movement. When you learn new things, see interesting videos, or have ideas, share them! We live in a time where we all have a social platform and are more connected than ever. Use it!
The environmental consequences if sharks were to go extinct would be disastrous. Species decline, suffocating algae blooms that produce toxins and destroy coral reefs, and accelerated global warming are just some of the noticeable effects that we would see if sharks are wiped out. So it is absolutely imperative that we do everything in our power support conservation efforts and protect sharks from extinction.