CALLING ALL LANDSHARKS!!!
SHARKS NEED OUR HELP!!!
Cue the music……
Da na…Da na….Da na…Da na….Da na Da na Da na Dananananananananana!
Shark week is equally something I look forward to every year as well as is the bane of my existence as a scuba instructor. I have yet to have a class that at least one student hasn’t expressed his or her fear of sharks, and almost always reference the movie Jaws or a show they saw on Shark Week.
Despite sharks' demonization throughout pop culture, it is a privilege for us landsharks to share the water with sharks as they are becoming a more and more rare sight in many of the earth's oceans. As divers, we have the ability to act as ambassadors for sharks and help dispel the myths and set the facts straight. The fact is, sharks are more likely to be killed by humans than humans being attacked by a shark--–ironically, WE are THEIR predators. Shockingly, it is estimated that 30 to 100 MILLION sharks are killed EVERY YEAR mainly due to the high demand of shark fins as a delicacy in soup and as an ingredient herbal medicine and fertilizer. There are only about 100 shark attacks each year. To put it into perspective, for every one shark attack on humans per year, 1 million sharks are killed.
The practice of shark finning is gruesome and brutal: dorsal, caudal and pectoral fins are all cut off while the shark is alive, then the shark is thrown overboard only to helplessly sink like an anchor because it has no fins to swim away.
Why should we care? Sharks have been a constant presence in our oceans for 400 million years. As the top predator in the ocean, they act as regulators keeping other fish populations in check. In places where sharks have been overfished, populations of their prey have exploded in the sharks’ absence, creating a domino effect down the food chain. The fish experiencing the population growth need more food to eat, so they end up consuming all the fish on their menu, and so on and son on down the line. Some of these fish on the lower rungs of the food chain are responsible for some of our planet’s basic necessities such as water filtration and carbon dioxide absorption, which ultimately effects us as humans.
Without sharks, we should all shudder to think of the consequences not just for the ocean but for us landsharks.
If you landsharks would like to help, fin up and join PADI Project Aware efforts!