Sharks have existed in Earth’s waters for around 450 million years now, there are hundreds of species of sharks traversing throughout the world’s ocean, and they are all unique in their ways. Furthermore, various threats and man-made disasters have made the shark’s population plummet over the years, and people should know why sharks are endangered.
Although sharks are known as the sea's apex predators, they are not excluded from various threats. Over the years, various organizations worldwide have paved the way for sharks to be protected and conserved. If you want to know why sharks are endangered, we’ll explain everything about them in this article.
Are Sharks Endangered?
The quick answer to that is, Yes. Sharks may have a terrible background when it comes to their reputation, but they, too, play an important role in our marine ecosystem. Unfortunately, while various shark species aren’t endangered, a certain number of shark species continues to decline over the years at such alarming rates.
What Are The Reasons Why Sharks Are Endangered?
There are multiple reasons why the shark population is constantly decreasing over the years, and humans cause almost all threats. Hopefully, these human activities that contributed to the shark’s decline will soon be stopped. Here’s the list of the most damaging threats to sharks and the cause of their decline.
It is estimated that around 80 to 100 million sharks are killed every year. Sharks are fished for their fins, cartilage, meat, and other organs used for various products. One of the most popular reasons why sharks are commercially caught is a certain dish called shark fin soup.
The shark fin soup in China has boomed significantly because it is being treated as a medicinal food, and it has also spread through neighboring nations and even in the West.
Commercial fishing tends to exhaust shark’s primary food source, and if food sources are scarce, sharks go hungry and eventually die. We, humans, catch fish for our food source. The more humans fish for their food, the less they have a choice. The scarcity of food not only depletes the shark’s food source but can also affect breeding as situations might not be favorable for young pups to flourish.
Chemicals present one of the most serious threats to the decline of the shark population. Industrial wastes pollute the ocean water, which causes fish kills, which are the primary source of food for sharks. Furthermore, oil spills also contribute to the overall disaster not just for sharks but also for the entire marine ecosystem.
Loss of Habitat
As the human population rises over the years and activities of humans develop, then most likely marine creatures such as sharks could lose their natural habitat as well. When the loss of habitat is extensive, it will not only restrict their hunting grounds but also breeding grounds.
As a result, more sharks are dying or getting killed by the day rather than pups getting through adulthood. In addition, as mating numbers decrease, so do their numbers.
Almost 15 billion of garbage are being dumped in the ocean each year, and this poses a major threat as garbage can be mistaken for food by sharks. Once sharks consume the garbage, it will result in indigestion, which is why sharks turn ill and eventually die.
Also, garbage has various toxic materials and other harmful chemicals, which may greatly affect small schools of fish and reefs that provide food for sharks.
What Can Humans Do To Help?
One of the biggest problems that various organizations deal with sharks is the stigma surrounding them. As we all know, they have a bad reputation, and this isn’t going to help them in helping preserve their kind. As humans who know better, you must help educate every individual about sharks. They aren’t all bad anyway.
The power of social media is growing over the years, and conversing and sharing knowledge through these various platforms could help steer away the negativities and stigma surrounding them. In addition, sharing facts is another way to help people get educated.
Support Shark Conservation
Another great way to help sharks get their numbers rising is helping through various organizations with their conservation efforts. Instead of preserving certain kinds of species, why not go the extra mile?
The effort should be on all levels to reduce man-made threats such as overfishing, overexploitation, dumping of garbage, and global warming and figure out alternative ways to reduce these activities or even to a halt.
Why Are Sharks Essential to the Marine Ecosystem?
Any species of shark is an essential part of a free-flowing marine ecosystem. As they are known to be apex predators, they keep the food chain balanced. Without these apex predators, various predators will soon thrive and will soon deplete the food source. Without these food sources, algae will thrive extensively to the point of causing our coral reefs to be destroyed catastrophically.
When coral reefs disappear, water becomes murky and toxic as they will not be filtered out. Furthermore, sharks play an integral role in the Earth’s carbon cycle. So, if the species of shark disappears, carbon loading will increase. As a result, it can contribute to the overall damage caused by global warming. So, we humans need to help conserve and protect these species from increasing their numbers and keeping our ocean and earth protected.
Are sharks endangered? Like all the species in the world, they all play an important role in various ecosystems and food chains. Sharks are on top of the food chain because they keep the balance. Without sharks, the balance of the food chain will be greatly affected.
Lastly, we humans are the biggest threat to all the species in the world. Our activities have led to some species' demise and will continue to do so if we aren’t doing the right thing. But, with extra efforts exerted by the various organizations throughout the world, there may be a sign of hope for the future.
Here at ATOLEA, not only will you be expressing your deep appreciation with sharks when wearing out Shark-inspired jewelry collections, you are also helping us sustain our mission of giving back to the Ocean. For every purchase you made from our Ocean-inspired jewelry collections, part of it goes to Ocean conservation charities.
So dive into our unique ATOLEA best sellers and more, and help us shape the future of the sea creatures including the near endangered sharks!