It’s Crucial You Find a Place In Your Heart For Sharks

Sharks are easily one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet. For centuries sharks have been depicted as threatening like in Jaws or Shark Week, shows that insist sharks live to hunt humans. In reality, humans are the last thing a shark wants. Humans have over 200 bones in their body making it incredibly tough for a shark to digest. and on top of that, we just aren’t that tasty.

Yet, sharks are still seen as dangerous and ferocious monsters. So how can I convince you otherwise? The International Shark Attack File, a database of all known shark attacks, has determined the possibility you will have a close encounter with a shark is about one in 11.5 million. To put that into perspective, your chances of getting injured in a boating accident are much more likely. There were only five fatalities from shark attacks recorded in 2017.  

In addition, sharks rarely attack humans on purpose. Picture looking up at the stomach of a turtle in the ocean. Now picture looking up at a human laying flat on a surf board with all four limbs hanging off the side. The two look impeccably similar for a shark who is simply searching for breakfast. On the flip side, think about what your flesh looks like among the sand and debris floating around in the oceans–it looks awfully similar to a shark’s aquatic prey. The moral of the story is that sharks mean no harm to humans. They are just like us and require food to sustain themselves, so you can’t blame a shark for following its instincts. 

So why should we even bother to save sharks at all? The oceans on this planet make up the largest and arguably,  the most important ecosystem. Without our oceans, the planet simply could not function.

Oceans produce more than half the oxygen we breathe, absorb half of the atmosphere’s man-made carbon dioxide, and monitor the Earth’s temperature and weather. Sharks are an apex predator in the ocean, which means they are the top predator among all living organisms in that system.

If we removed sharks from the ocean completely, the health of oceans and the planet would disappear.

Sharks are being hunted for their fins, livers, flesh, and cartilage. The most known use of sharks is for shark fin soup. What you probably don’t know is the rest of the shark is used for an endless amount of possibilities.

Shark has been found in fish items at the grocery stores, cosmetics, pet foods, medicines, leathers and many other products.

But these products aren’t advertised as 'made with real shark'. These products are the ones you grab off the shelf everyday unknowingly. Each year 150 million sharks are killed just to be put into things like your lip balm. Let that sink in.

It is time we stand up to the companies making billions from their shark fishing and show them sharks are more important than their industrial use.

Around the globe, many countries have committed to fully or partially banning shark fishing, but many have still not joined the fight and many loopholes can be found within the existing bans.

Believe it or not, Canada is the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia.

It is up to consumers to end the use of shark products and end the shark fishing industry. By getting involved with your local government and fighting for the ban of shark fins, you can save millions of lives. To save the sharks we can also sign petitions, educate ourselves on which products contain shark, and spread the word.

Rob Stewart was a passionate shark advocate who created an incredible film called Sharkwater Extinction. It is worth a watch to develop a deeper knowledge for the issue and to learn more about how you can make a change. The film’s website is another amazing resource where you can find information about your products containing shark, the issue with shark fishing, and a movement to make change called #sharkfree.

It is crucial that we give a voice to the sharks of our world before we lose them. Right now, they need us as much as we need them.