“Sharks are beautiful animals, and if you’re lucky enough to see lots of them, that means that you’re in a healthy ocean. You should be afraid if you are in the ocean and don’t see sharks.”Sylvia Earle
We are witnessing a great surge in media attention that commonly emphasizes the dark side of sharks with only ”shark attacks” always being reported. True, sharks attacks take a heavy toll on human life by causing on average 10 deaths per year, but this statistics falls short in comparison to the millions of sharks being cruelly killed each year by the human populations.
Did you know that about 10 millions of sharks are victims of fining: the practice of cutting their fins and then discarding them alive into the sea to die, after which the sharks either starve to death, or are eaten alive by other fish? This adds to my point that sharks are being treated inhumanely.
The media is at high records in promoting shark related news at all levels, however it fails to highlight the importance of Sharks. Sharks are crucial to marine ecosystems, they serve to balance the population of prey species and keep the ocean healthy by removing ill or diseased animals. Above all, it is primitive that the human population understands that sharks are an important resource supporting local economies through fishing and tourist attraction (deep sea diving).
This is a great moment to be aware of what’s been going on in our ocean, and is a particularly great moment for understanding the current stats in order to finally get over the myth of shark threats. Incidentally, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported a decline of 0.15 million tons in commercial catches of sharks, rays and chimeras in a period of three years. It is unknown whether this is due to improved management of shark fisheries or decreasing shark populations through over fishing or a combination of both. Can we afford to further overlook this disastrous event? We cannot simply discard a study that analyzed shark fin trade records. We need to act, and fast!
The ocean looks to us for the next strategy to safeguard the shark population. How is this problem tackled? ELI Africa is shaped by the support of our young friends who take an active part in upgrading the environment on all fronts. This is why we came up with this ‘Shark Sensitization Campaign’ in order to remove the fear of sharks from people’s mind; make them realize the importance of these creatures and take necessary steps to protect them.
On the 7th of June (World Ocean Day 2014), we started our Shark Sensitization Campaign at Trou aux Biches, where we talked to people about the importance of sharks. I am moved by the passion that has driven this organization to its results and hence we have already taken our next step by working on a “Shark Week” event. Making that goal a reality will indeed be a real achievement and I hope we can count on your assistance. So, stay posted for more news from the team.
In the meantime, join us in our cause by following these easy steps :
·Protect habitats of sharks
·Minimizing waste that are discarded in the sea
·Stop over-fishing in the sea by avoiding shark food (shark fin soup)
·Stop fishing in areas where sharks are usually present
This blog was made possible by the contributions of Priyanka Somrah and Medha Boolauky.