Here are three top reasons why we’re gaga over sharks:
1. Sharks are critical to the health of our ocean planet.
2. We’re fishing them to extinction (cue the alarm bells!)
3. Divers, who are some of sharks’ closest friends, can help save them.
Ecologically, as top predators, sharks play a pivotal role in keeping the ocean healthy. Economically, sharks are vital. Over their lifetime, sharks can be a continuous source of income for local, tourism-based economies. And fishers around the world make their living and depend on sustainable fisheries - including sharks.
Yet, shark populations continue to plummet. Sharks are balancing on the brink, decimated by overfishing – targeted fisheries, bycatch and finning. The need to protect them is urgent. Nearly one in five species of sharks is threatened with extinction.
But there’s hope.
Scuba divers are some of sharks’ closest friends and allies. That’s because sharks are an iconic species for us. We’re some of the only people on the planet who’ve experienced face-to-face shark encounters and we’ve been inspired by those meetings.
Our greatest strength is our numbers—we are thousands motivated to act on behalf of sharks. Our collective voice and power to make change is unparalleled. We can do important work to protect sharks at the grassroots, in our own communities. But as a powerful, united movement we can also influence international policies.
We can help curb trade in sharks by demanding changes in policies that regulate the behaviour of States and other national, regional and international actors. Policy changes can inch us towards sustainable shark fisheries. They can prohibit the removal of fins at sea, are guided by science, and take a precautionary approach to setting limits and managing catches.
As scuba divers, we are an important economic and political stakeholder group. As a global movement, we are in a unique position to demonstrate to governments that we are an informed, empowered and connected constituency working to save sharks.
Let’s change sharks’ fate. Sign the Project AWARE shark petition now.