Protect the Sharks?

Protect the sharks?

To some, that may sound unusual or even ludicrous.  In fact, it’s of great importance to all of us.

Shark resting under a reef. Photo courtesy of NOAA(US Dept of Commerce) photo library

Sharks have been portrayed as a malicious threat to anyone in the water.  In fact, sharks are essential to marine health.   They remove unhealthy marine animals and help maintain balance of the marine food web.  For example, as top of the food web, they eat other predators.   Without that control, the predators can grow out of control, leading to over consumption of the lower herbivores.   Without those herbivores, algae and other plants can grow without control.   With no control on the algae, it can smother an otherwise healthy reef system.

The threat to sharks

The primary threat to sharks is man.   Either through consumption as part of shark fining or as bycatch by other fisheries.  Shark fining is particularly horrendous.   Sharks are caught, finned and then dumped overboard to die.   The fins are taken, dried and used to make an Asian delicacy, Shark Fin Soup.    As bycatch, sharks are caught along with the fish the fisheries have targeted.   The sharks either die in the net or on board the fishing vessel.   Then the dead shark is dumped overboard.

shark swimming in open water

Shark in open water. Photo courtesy of NOAA (US Dept of Commerce) Photo Library

How you can help the sharks

  • Sign the shark petition on the right side of this page.
  • Chose your seafood wisely.   Make sure you’re not eating shark and that the seafood you’re eating is caught in a sustainable manner that doesn’t threaten sharks.
  • Don’t eat shark fin soup
  • Learn more.   Take the new Project AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty, or if you’re an instructor, take the Specialty Instructor training course from a PADI Course Director.
  • Not a diver?  No worries.   You can participate in the Project AWARE Shark Conservation course and learn more about sharks and how important they are.

April is Shark Conservation Month.   Do your part to protect the marine environment and protect the sharks.

Project AWARE logoTake your Project AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty with me.   Remember, I’m 100% AWARE–all certifications include a contribution to Project AWARE.