10 Shark Things You Can Do

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    Sharks have existed, virtually unchanged, for more than 400 million years. But now, Earths most dangerous predator pushes global shark populations to the brink humans.

    Shark FinningEach year, tens of millions of sharks are hunted exclusively for their fins, meeting the demand for shark fin soup and related consumer products. In a wasteful and cruel practice called shark finning, shark fins are removed and the animal, often still alive, is thrown overboard.

    Why does this occur? Shark fins are by far the most valuable part of a fished shark and finning maximizes fisheries profit. Shark fin soup and other consumer products like cosmetics and supplements are driving up the demand for shark fins.

    According to the Shark Alliance report, Shark Alert, the disparity between the exceptionally valuable shark fins and the less valuable shark meat creates an economic incentive to take sharks solely for their fins. Shark finning contributes to an extraordinary waste of resources, unsustainable shark mortality and serious decline in shark populations.

    Many scientists agree that the most effective management strategy to reducing the number of sharks taken from our ocean, is to address and manage shark finning.

    Bycatch Too often, commercial fishing vessels catch non-target species, or animals that are not their intended catch including sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and sea birds. These animals are called bycatch. Destructive fishing practices including longlines, trawlers and gillnets have high bycatch rates.

    Because bycatch is not typically reported, data on the extent of bycatch is limited. But its estimated that tens of millions of sharks are lost to fisheries bycatch each year.

    Bycatch can seriously deplete many shark species due to their late age of maturity, slow growth rates and low number of offspring. Shark bycatch is thrown overboard injured or dying or often also landed at port without being reported, meaning shark species decline can remain undetected for long periods of time.

    Project AWARE Foundation 2009

    Ten Things You Can Do Support international shark fisheries management and conservation efforts.1.

    Contact your local government representative. Demand that shark management 2. and conservation efforts become a priority.

    Support organizations, like Project AWARE, which are engaged in ocean 3. conservation efforts.

    Educate recreational fishers who target sharks.4.

    Learn about marine life, its problems and solutions.5.

    Make informed decisions when purchasing products that may contain shark 6. substances, as many shark species are overfished.

    Support educational television programs and films about sharks.7.

    Write to travel operators and urge them to introduce shark conservation issues into fishing trips to highlight the need for 8. controls on shark fishing.

    Pass on your underwater experiences with sharks as a scuba diver.9.

    Tell your friends. Spread the word about shark conservation efforts and how humans need to come together to help 10. preserve this precious resource.

    Predator or Prey?

    Protect the Sharks: