Our oceans. Vast, deep, almost unfathomable. They sustain us. They regulate our climate, provide food, and have an enigmatic beauty that enchants people the world over.
One constant through over 400 million years of this history is sharks. Sharks play a crucial role as predators in nearly all marine environments. Not only do predators regulate prey populations through direct consumption, but there are strong indirect effects of prey changing their movement patterns to avoid risky confrontations with predators like sharks. Sharks can have a particularly strong influence as their piercing, sawing teeth and gaping jaws often allows them to consume much larger prey than other fish can - dolphins, dugongs, turtles and other sharks all feature on their menu.
It's an absolutely staggering figure, and comes as no surprise that most shark fisheries are considered highly unsustainable. We're losing sharks, and fast - many populations have declined by over 90%. Losing predators like sharks means our oceans, and all the valuable services they provide, are also threatened, as the delicate ecosystem balance they help maintain collapses. A future without sharks is a dark one, and we can't be sure just how severe the impacts will be.
There is increasing recognition globally of the need to conserve shark populations, with many countries imposing strict quotes or complete fishing bans, while others divert to the rapidly growing, far more sustainable tourism sector. But it's still an uphill struggle, with poor public perception of sharks and rife poaching of sharks in the high seas â€“ Save Our Sharks has been established to help combat these misconceptions and promote shark conservation.
Show your support and awareness. Help to preserve and protect our world's oceans.