Sharks have always been depicted as one of the deadliest and most fearsome creatures in the ocean. While movies and documentaries may have skyrocketed their popularity, they have also given sharks a bad reputation. However, we need to understand that these wondrous sea creatures are an essential part of the ecosystem. They play a critical role in maintaining the food chain, and their extinction would cause severe ecological consequences. Shark Awareness Day on July 14 celebrates these misunderstood creatures and aims to raise awareness about their importance and conservation. In this blog post, we will discuss why sharks are essential to the ocean and why we need to protect them.
Sharks are not mindless killing machines that movies and documentaries have made them out to be. They play a crucial role in our oceans and are a significant indicator of a healthy ecosystem. Sharks help keep the food chain balanced by keeping the levels of prey in check. Without them, smaller predator populations would increase, leading to a decline in the populations of smaller prey like plankton and algae, causing irreversible damage to the ecosystem.
We must fight to protect sharks, not to fight against them. Sharks are often mistaken for their meat, and their fins are used in shark fin soup. While this delicacy may be a popular dish in some cultures, such as China, it has led to the illegal hunting of sharks worldwide, causing many shark populations to become endangered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists 143 out of 580 sharks, rays and chimaeras as Endangered or Critically Endangered. To protect the oceans and the food chain, we need to take action and stop this illegal hunting.
Sharks are apex predators, and their removal can lead to a domino effect that can alter the entire ocean ecosystem. We need to realize that these creatures have been around for millions of years, and they have adapted to their surroundings to reach a state of equilibrium. Removing them from the ecosystem would change the food chain and affect other species' populations. Without them, the ocean's health would suffer, impacting almost all aspects of marine life and beyond.
Shark ecotourism, such as cage diving and swimming with sharks, can not only financially benefit communities, but also promote conservation and awareness. By seeing them up close, people can understand their behavior, learn how they fit into the ocean's ecosystem, and fall in love with these magnificent creatures. It can also help us shape policies grounded in education, conservation, and research, which promote shark welfare rather than their exploitation. There are scuba diving operators running dedicated shark trips:
Sharks are a significant part of the ocean ecosystem. We should celebrate them, raise awareness about their conservation, and take action to protect them. They deserve respect, not the fear that has been instilled in our minds by media and movies. We can protect sharks by educating ourselves, changing the perception towards them, and pressuring governments to enforce laws that limit shark hunting and protect their habitats. On this Shark Awareness Day, let us stand together to ensure that these misunderstood creatures are protected, and their survival is secure.