Sharks have lived on this earth for over 400 million years! That means they lived here even before dinosaurs existed! Incredibly, in the last 30 years, humans have driven this 400 million years of evolutionary success to the brink of extinction… Below, you can find 10 awesome steps to take to help in their conservation
Don’t eat shark from your local ‘chippy’ shop.
Believe it or not, many fish and chip shops are infact ‘SHARK’ and chips shops. They can buy up low valued shark fillets cheaply, disguise in batter as fish, give it a fancy ‘non-shark’ like name and sell it to you. One of the more common names that they use for disguised shark is ‘Flake’. So take a few minutes to ask your local ‘chippy’ if they are serving any shark meat and make sure you stay away.
Don’t frequent restaurants that serve shark dishes.
Many Chinese restaurants (even outside of China) continue to serve ‘Shark fin Soup’ as a dish at their restaurants. This dish has single handedly destroyed shark populations, and brought 400 million years of evolution to its knees. If a restaurant you arrive at has shark dishes on its menu, then take a stand and walk out. Let the manager know that your decision is based on their serving of sharks on the menu. With the education campaigns throughout the world, no restaurant owner can claim ignorance to the devastation that the shark fin soup trade has caused.
Know where your fish comes from.
Many fisheries either directly, or indirectly over exploit shark and fish species. This can be through massive bi-catch, unregulated quotas, or simply illegal fishing. To help guide consumers to make responsible choices when buying marine food, the Marine Steward Council has introduced a certification to highlight that any marine life was sourced in a sustainable manner. All you have to do is check for the MSC bluefish certification before buying.
Don’t let a shark die for your beauty
Squalene is an organic compound found in the livers of sharks. It is used extensively in cosmetics and personal care products, including bath oils, hair products, eye makeup, makeup foundations, lipstick, suntan and sunscreen products, body powders, nail products and in cleansing, moisturizing, and skin care products.Whilst Squalene occurs in high concentrations in sharks, it is available almost everywhere. Ensure that any beauty product you buy is not sourcing is squalene from sharks (most are) otherwise find squalene free productions. Sharks should not have to die for a moisturiser.
Join or donate to a shark NGO
Shark conservation NGO’s do incredible work for little or no reward. One of the few ways that they can source funds is through membership fees and donations from members. If you have a little extra cash, then please join one of the organisations and donate to their work. If you do get really motivated, become active in the NGO and help out in their conservation campaigns. They are at the fore front of conserving sharks and need your help. See some great NGO’s here – Shark NGO’s
Be a voice for shark on social media
Sharks needs our support, and if every shark ambassador was dedicated to spreading the good word about sharks though social media, then awareness would increase drastically. So if shark campaigns and education posts pop up on your news feeds, take a few seconds and share it to your personal network. Get the word out there.
Boycott shark attack shows – Stop the ratings.
Shark documentary’s are big business, and indeed Blue Wilderness specialises in providing logistics and specialist support to many documentary’s each year. However, we do ensure that every documentary we work on sends positive messages about sharks. If you are a fan of shark documentaries, take a few minutes to screen them before watching. Shows that focus purely on shark attacks and creating fear in their audience do not help. Boycott these shows, do not let your children watch these shows, and rather enjoy the awesome shows about the wonders of shark ecology, research, discovery and exploration.
PETITION YOUR GOVERNMENT
Sharks around the world are been over exploited, and this includes in South Africa. Big business and the the continued demand by Asia for shark fin’s means that the fight will never end. The role of government is to make and enact laws for the citizens of a country, this includes protecting species, introducing fishing quotas and managing the EEZ’s (exclusive economic zones – the neighbouring oceans). Find the appropriate departments and ensure they are doing good by sharks.
Become a master shark diver
Shark ecotourism is a great way to save sharks. Firstly, it opens up your eyes to the many myths about sharks. Such as, they are mindless man-eaters. Many shark adventures turn guests into ambassadors for shark conservation. Secondly, the shark ecotourism operators themselves become the enforcers of shark conservation. At reefs such as Aliwal Shoal, Shark can be safe and free from illegal fishing. This is because a number of companies can head out to sea daily and whilst running shark diving expeditions, keep an eye out for illegal fishing.
Sharklife is a locally based shark conservation NGO. Its objective is through scientific research, education and awareness to bring about positive change in the current destructive trends of ocean exploitation.
AfriOceans (AOCA) is a local shark conservation and awareness NGO. It proactively encourages and lobbies for commercial, corporate and government policies and practices that provide sustainable marine conservation.
Shark Project is a German based shark conservation NGO. Since its inception in 2002, it has grown to include a number of international chapters and projects. Its aim is to develop and support projects that promote shark conservation and health of marine ecosystems