Dun dun… dun dun… dun dun dun. I’ve always been utterly fascinated by sharks. My all-time favorite move is Jaws and I always make an effort to watch the movie every Summer. If you didn’t know… July 14th is Shark Awareness Day. July also brings Shark Week, an annual TV tradition that highlights conservation efforts and misconceptions about sharks.
I thought the month of July would be an appropriate time to champion sharks and try to create positive change for some of the ocean’s greatest fish by providing some fun facts about our toothy creatures under the sea.
- Sharks keep ocean ecosystems in balance. Since sharks are the apex predators in marine ecosystems, they tend to have few natural predators and feed on animals below them on the food chain. Because sharks directly or indirectly affect all levels of the food web, they help maintain structure in healthy ocean ecosystems.
- Coral reefs may also benefit from the protection of sharks. It has been shown that the removal of sharks from coral reefs triggers an increase of smaller predators that prey on plant-eating fish. Without the plant-eating fish, algae can quickly overgrow a coral reef.
- Sharks keep carbon out of the atmosphere. Sharks play an important role in the carbon cycle by supporting healthy seagrass meadows due to the prevention of overgrazing. Seagrasses absorb vast amounts of carbon helping to prevent greenhouse gases from warming the atmosphere!
- Sharks boost the economy. Unfortunately shark finning is still a major issue but the trade has seen a steady decline over the last 10 years. Many shark fisheries are driving themselves to collapse with unsustainable catch rates. On the other hand, shark ecotourism brings in $314 million per year with the expectation that it will double within the next 20 years. Shark diving has become a popular sport and is continuing to attract those who wish to see sharks up and close in the water. While a shark fin might yield a one-time profit, a live shark can benefit the local economy repeatedly over its lifetime.
- How can you help?
- Pledge to never consume or serve shark fin soup. Furthermore, you could sign a petition to support a ban on the shark fin trade.
- Never buy shark cartilage, skin, teeth, jaws, or liver oil.
- Make sure you are eating only sustainable seafood.
- Educate your community about the importance of protecting sharks.
- Donate or volunteer with a reputable shark conservation organization.
For a little fun, see what kind of shark you are! Apparently, I’m a Basking Shark.
Here at the Stump Farm, where White Raven Financial is located, we may not have shark diving available, but we certainly wouldn’t be against trying it out! We are big proponents of animal welfare especially when it also helps out the environment.
Thanks for reading~