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Get to know Sharks


- Sharks have been roaming the oceans for about 450 million years
- There are >440 different species of shark alive today
- 2.4 % of living sharks are Critically Endangered;  3.2 % are Endangered; 10.3 % are Vulnerable; and 14.4 % are Near Threatened.
 - Sharks are apex predators and weed out the sick and injured fish to keep populations healthy

Know the Facts

For years, humans have had a fear and hatred for sharks... but are sharks REALLY the cold-blooded, killing machines that Hollywood and the news make them out to be? 
Here are the facts:

6

Average human fatalities caused by sharks (annually)

100 Million

Average shark fatalities caused by humans (annually)

Why are they being killed?

 Over 100 million sharks are killed each year... for reference, that is approximately 11,417 sharks killed every HOUR. 
So, why are they being killed?

    Shark Meat

Shark Meat

Shark meat could be found at your local supermarket.... or even in your fish and chips.  Common species sold in Florida include mako and blacktip.

Shark Fins

Shark Fins

Shark fin soup is an Asian delicacy at first believed to be a cultural status symbol. These days, shark fins are being imported and exported around the world to several restaurants (see What You Can Do for list of Florida restaurants that sell shark fins). 

Sport

Sport

Sharks are not only used for food, but also for trophy. Around the world, big game fishing tournaments and tours commence in hopes to catch the biggest, baddest sharks. 

Other threats to sharks

Other threats to sharks 

Sharks are directly harmed by hunting and culling, but also face indirect human caused threats.  These threats include 1. Pollution. Whether it is a plastic water bottle or sewage, there are a lot of things that end up in the ocean that just should not be there. Sharks will eat and become entangled in plastic. Poor water quality as a result to sewage pollution will also kill sharks. 2. Climate change. Our effect on climate change over the past many years has been one of record amounts. Our carbon emissions have gone through the roof and the effects of this are quite literally detrimental. Of course this climate change is also effecting us in measurable ways, sharks are not unscathed by it. Even though sharks have been around for hundreds of millions of years and have survived mass extinctions and natural heating and cooling events of the earth, they simply cannot keep up with the rate that humans are changing the earth. 3. By-catch. Even when sharks are not on the menu for fishermen to catch, sharks still face the consequences of fishing when they are snagged or hooked unintentionally in nets or long lines. 

Why should I care if sharks are being killed?

Bluntly, Sharks keep you alive!

A Ripple Effect

Sharks are a species designed to keep populations healthy. A shark is not going to waste its energy on trying to catch a healthy and fast fish. Sharks will look for sickly fish that are an easy catch. This in turn will keep populations healthy and thriving. Now, take sharks out of the picture and you will have unhealthy populations with no predator to keep this in check. So, how does this affect you? For one, the seafood you eat would not exist without sharks around to keep balanced populations/ecosystems. Secondly, balanced ecosystems work with each other all the way from sharks to photosynthetic phytoplankton that give YOU 50% of the air you breathe.  In order for the largest species to be alive, the smallest species need to be alive and vice versa... nature works together.

They are TOXIC

Sharks contain HIGH levels of mercury

Sharks are an apex predator. This means that they reign at the top of the food chain, feeding on smaller fish and mammals.  
Mercury is an element that is found naturally in the ocean and nature; however, humans have dramatically increased the amount present in the ocean with electricity and  burning waste. Regardless of how mercury ends up in the ocean, small fish are quite likely to consume the chemical. A process called bio accumulation results in an increased amount of the chemical as it makes its way up the food chain. Eventually, this accumulation results in large quantities in apex predators... like sharks. So they have mercury, is that bad? Simply put, YES. Sharks specifically have methyl mercury, which if consumed, can lead to various health issues. In fact, a study done by the director of Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Shark Research suggests that the quantity of mercury in sharks is above the safe level that FDA recommends. 

Sharks are fascinating

What a beauty

If you are anything like us, you can love and care about sharks simply because they are amazing creatures. These animals are graceful and  important and so little is truly known about them.  Sharks have been around since before trees.  There are so many species and variations it is difficult to not find any one of them fascinating.  If not for the fascination, many of the shark advocates would not also feel sympathy for these beautiful creatures. They are helping out the ecosystem in so many ways that it is heartbreaking to watch their species decline right in front of our eyes.