Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gilly Up!

The Polar Vortex may have killed some of the nastiest invasive insets in the Midwest, but sharks across the globe remain in hot water. At the top of the food chain in virtually every part of every ocean, sharks are a keystone to the marine ecosystem.

Shark species have been on the planet for 890 million years; 175 million years before the first dinosaur. They have survived through 5 major extinctions that wiped most life from the planet, yet their future is now under threat by a species only 200,000 years old - man.

Humans are the biggest threat to the sharks. 3 sharks are killed every second! Once uncontrollably hunted for their fins, which were hacked for shark fin soup, sharks are still butchered for popular and pointless shark products derived from shark cartilage for a myriad of pills, creams and treatments.

Sharks groom many populations of marine life to the right size so that those prey species don’t cause harm to the ecosystem by becoming too populous. Depletion of sharks has resulted in the loss of commercially important fish and shellfish species down the food chain. Removing the sharks can result in the loss of important foods that humans depend upon for survival.

Picture taken at Georgia Aquarium, pictured is one of the two resident male whale sharks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The general misconception that sharks are vicious man-eaters is a panic started with the media frenzy surrounding the movie “Jaws”. Fishing advocates pegged that they are protecting us from deadly shark attacks. Humans are not part of any shark's diet, and the unlucky ones have been accidentally bitten. Truly, only 10 out of 400 the shark species are considered potentially harmful to humans.

Sharks produce few young, and reach sexual maturity at a relatively late age, sometimes as late as 25. Unsustainable shark fishing has dwindled shark populations, pushing 126 shark species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as threatened with extinction on a global scale.

What is Sea Save Foundation doing?

To raise awareness and concern about the impact of shark fishing on the marine biodiversity, Sea Save Foundation has launched our Give 'em a Fin campaign. Together let’s collect 20,000 photographs of people from around the world giving the international sign of the shark. These photos will be added to our beautiful mosaic, painted by Phil Coles. We will send the message that we support Shark protection.

What can you do?

Help us to protect these fascinating predators with Give 'em a Fin. Pose for a portrait giving the international sign of the shark, and upload your picture.

Want to host your own Give ‘em a Fin Event? Download details from here.

Go on, don't be shy. Give 'em a Fin!