When I was a junior in high school I finally watched Jaws for the first time. (I know a filmmaker who claims she loves Spielberg, yet waited forever to actually see one of his greatest films, I’m ashamed). But the moral of the story is that once I watched it for the first time I probably watched it a thousand times. I’m not even kidding, I watched it like every night for two weeks and I still watch it every chance I get. It not only reinforced my love for Spielberg, it also opened my eyes to a new love of mine: sharks. Yes, I am very afraid of them, but I still think they are the most beautiful creatures on this planet. I also think that this is an opinion that needs to be more widely accepted. Sure, Jaws shows sharks as ruthless killers, but also it’s a movie. Not all clowns kill children either. Isn’t it time we start viewing sharks as the beautiful creatures they really are? Or at least stop accepting the fact that humans murder them by the millions?
As many as 100 million sharks are killed by humans every year to satisfy the demand of shark fin soup and shark meat. This is a crazy high number, and its especially crazy to think that we, as humans, still support this industry, considering 1/3 of all shark species are considered endangered! Sharks are easily susceptible to endangerment because they take decades to mature and they usually only have a few young at a time.
Saving 100 million sharks every year may seem like a huge feat, but the good news is many people before us have already taken huge strides to decrease this number.
Surfers and surfing companies, scientists, and ocean conservation companies have all written to their perspective countries to encourage them to stop endorsing this industry. The actions taken by these people has led us to many bills being passed in favor of sharks.
If you live in America, you can have the chance to be a part of this process right now! Here is a sample letter (adapted from Shark Savers) that you can copy and paste, sign, and send to your representative in congress. This bill would eliminate all shark fin trade in the U.S. and would encourage other countries to follow suit. Reaching out to your representatives in the government is such a powerful way to help the earth and I hope that you join me in sending these letters!
And if you don’t live in the U.S. then I would encourage you to find ways to help ban shark meat and fins in your country! From my research, shark fins have been banned in the European Union, but I’m sure there is more work to be done in banning shark meat in general and creating sanctuaries for sharks along European waters. I have also found that Canada, a usually very eco-friendly country, is not doing so well in terms of saving sharks. The country recently closed a porbeagle shark fishery in 2013 (a huge step) but this endangered shark species is said to take upwards of 100 years to fully recover from this overfishing, and they are in great need of sanctuaries in Canadian waters.
I would encourage you to find out more about sharks in your country and send letters to your government encouraging more laws protecting sharks. If you find that your country still allows shark finning then please copy and paste this letter and change the necessary areas to be more specific to your country instead of America!
How are you Helping
Let us know below and help encourage others to find new ways to save sharks!