Shark Week was months ago, so it may seem like old news, but sharks still need our attention.
“An estimated 100 million sharks are killed annually,” according to USA Today and shark researchers. “We’ve absolutely annihilated the species on a global scale,” says Demian Chapman in National Geographic’s August 2016 issue.
In contrast, sharks rarely kill humans. In last July’s issue of National Geographic, Erik Vance writes, “In water off California, the chances of a surfer being bitten by a great white shark
are one in 17 million; for swimmers, it’s even rarer.”
Dog attacks are actually more common than shark attacks: There were 34 dog attacks in
the U.S. in 2015, as opposed to six shark attacks worldwide, according to National Geographic’s
So, sharks aren’t the danger most people think they are. Scientists are learning they even have personalities and quirks, the Miami Herald wrote. If that’s not enough to make you care about sharks, maybe their role in the entire ocean’s health will. Most sharks are what’s known as an apex predator–they keep the entire ocean in balance.
NOAA’s Ocean Today says, “They play a vital role in keeping the ecosystem healthy.” What does that mean, exactly? Without sharks, the ocean’s ecosystems can suffer,resulting in less fish and other marine life.
“Sharks play such an integral role in the food web that if they vanish, the effect could be felt on your dinner plate,” wrote USA Today.
There are many simple ways you can help keep sharks in our oceans. Discovery Channel and the Miami Herald offer a few suggestions:
●Only buy seafood from sustainable fisheries.
●Don’t buy cosmetics, supplements, and other goods that use sharks.
●Contact state representatives about the problems sharks face.
●Show your support for marine protection laws, sustainable fisheries, and no-trade in endangered species policies.
●Tell other people how important sharks are. Make your community aware of how we need to save sharks.
●Support environmental groups! Volunteering your time and money is one of the best ways to have a positive effect on the world’s ecosystems, according to Discovery Channel.
Get out there and make a difference today, saving sharks and keeping Shark Week on TV for years to come.