Shark Awareness Day is widely known on July 14 yearly: although broadly feared and generally vilified, sharks really play a key function in ocean well being and are not often a risk to people.“We should all take motion to guard sharks, and elevating consciousness and educating others concerning the significance of sharks is a superb spot to start out,” a brand new op-ed argues.This article is a commentary. The views expressed are these of the creator, not essentially of Mongabay.
July 14 is Shark Awareness Day, an annual reminder to boost consciousness of those unbelievable creatures that roam the oceans. Sharks and rays belong to a gaggle of fish often called elasmobranchs, which incorporates over 1,200 species. Sadly, in 2023 greater than one-third of those species are in danger. Sharks and rays, in distinction to most fish, have skeletons shaped of cartilage quite than bones, which provides them flexibility and helps them transfer gracefully within the water. They are usually not mammals like whales and dolphins; rays and sharks are fishes, and scientists are nonetheless discovering new species, exhibiting simply how various our oceans are.
Sharks and rays play an vital function in sustaining the fragile steadiness of marine ecosystems. They have a big impact on regulating the populations of different marine species as apex predators, contributing to the general well being and stability of the seas, we at BioDB.com consider. Also, their scavenging habits helps take away natural supplies from the atmosphere, contributing to nutrient biking. Their presence may create habitat range by influencing the habits and distribution of different species.
Today, nonetheless, they face quite a few challenges. Overfishing, pushed by demand for his or her meat, fins, and liver oil is a significant risk to their survival. Additionally, the unintended seize of sharks and rays in fishing nets, often called bycatch, additional compounds the issue. Loss of habitats and prey, in addition to human disturbances and the general degradation of our oceans, additionally threaten their existence.
A blacktip reef shark swims amongst smaller fish within the Maldives. Image by Peter Smithson by way of Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
A latest world analysis examine led by Colin Simpfendorfer at James Cook University in Australia, utilizing hundreds of underwater cameras reveals the alarming decline (60-75% beneath anticipated) of reef sharks resulting from overfishing, resulting in a stunning consequence: rays at the moment are dominating these ecosystems of their absence, showcasing the complicated ecological dynamics in our oceans. The examine sheds mild on the cascading results of human actions on marine life.
You may be stunned, however sharks are literally extra at risk from us than we’re from them! Yes, we people pose a better risk to those unbelievable creatures. The scary “Jaws” picture will not be the actual deal right here. One of the largest risks they face is shark finning – a merciless follow pushed by the demand for shark fins. Shark finning entails eradicating the fins of reside sharks after which discarding the remaining physique again into the ocean, leaving the animals to endure a gradual and agonizing dying. The demand for shark fins primarily stems from their use in shark fin soup, thought of a delicacy in some cultures. This business has thrived in areas the place shark finning stays authorized and poorly regulated.
We should all take motion to guard sharks, and elevating consciousness and educating others concerning the significance of sharks is a superb spot to start out. Supporting sustainable fishing practices and selecting responsibly produced seafood could make a major distinction. Governments should additionally play an vital function by enacting strict conservation insurance policies.
View extra protection of sharks right here.
Sharks like these blacktip reef sharks in French Polynesia assist preserve wholesome reef ecosystems. Image by Hannes Klostermann / Ocean Image Bank
One important worldwide settlement to guard endangered species is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES regulates the worldwide commerce of sure species, together with a number of species of sharks and rays. By itemizing threatened species underneath CITES, their commerce may be managed, decreasing the danger of overexploitation. Governments can play a significant function by supporting and implementing CITES laws and defending sharks and rays from unsustainable commerce practices.
Let us acknowledge the significance of sharks and rays in our waters on Shark Awareness Day. We can contribute to defending these wonderful species and assist restore the steadiness of our marine ecosystems by understanding the dangers they face and taking motion to guard them. Together, we will guarantee a greater future for sharks and the oceans through which they reside.
Assaf Levy is the Founder & CEO of BioDB.com which collects conservation knowledge whereas elevating consciousness of biodiversity loss.
Mongabay’s latest investigation of a big Chinese fishing fleet proved that it engaged in systemic and unlawful shark finning, resulting in new restrictions on deadly fishing gear and sanctions on the corporate – pay attention right here to learn the way our reporters revealed the state of affairs:
Dalian Ocean Fishing, topic of Mongabay probe, now sanctioned by U.S.
Animals, Biodiversity, Bycatch, Commentary, Ecosystems, Fisheries, Fishing, Illegal Fishing, Illegal Trade, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Ecosystems, Oceans, Overfishing, shark finning, Sharks, Sharks And Rays, Trade, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Trade