The Internet has greatly impacted the global awareness of
environmental problems. It is a powerful tool, but sometimes the steady influx
of information can be overwhelming. There are so many problems and this can
back fire, causing people to think they really cannot do anything. We must keep hope, however, and realize
that as individuals there is so much we really can do. These are simple things
that only take minutes, but can have a strong impact. Like anything, start off
small and then work your way up. You don’t have to organize a massive beach
cleanup to start instead take a bag with you to collect trash on your morning
walk. Age or location doesn’t matter. Everyone has a voice and everyone can
make a difference.
I have created a list of ten things that anyone, including
divers, can do to help Sharks. In helping sharks, you are helping the oceans.
Sharks are apex predators that play a vital role in the survival and healthy
functioning of our oceans.
Do grocery stores in your
area sell shark meat at the fish counter? Do local restaurants serve shark or
shark fin soup? Ask the owner or manager why they sell a product that has toxic
levels of mercury? Speak to the community and encourage people to speak up and
take their business elsewhere. Contact a conservation group to organize a
petition or start your own. Reach out to local newspapers or television
stations. You have a voice! Use it to speak for those that do not.
Do your research. Find out
about the troubles facing our oceans? Sharks are apex predators that keep
oceans clean and regulate the food chain. Without them the animals below them
in the food chain will start to vanish. This affects the entire system.
Volunteer for a local
conservation organization. Get out in the community and spread the word. If
there is nothing local than find a larger group and see how you can help or
start your own. There is always a need for passionate people to take action.
Speak to a local school
about sharks and the ocean. Organize for a marine biologist or conservationist
to come in and speak. Getting kids excited and involved is crucial for the
future of our oceans. Organize the
same thing for other groups in the community. ( Scuba club, garden club,
sailing club…etc.) ( www.shark-girl.com
to book a presentation)
Go on a shark dive or snorkel. Everyone should see a shark in the
wild. A personal experience can change the stereotypes that many people have
about these amazing animals. Check out areas where you can snorkel or go for a
dive with different species of sharks. Not a scuba diver? Find a class locally
and jump in. Everyone can be a diver!
Are there marinas in your
area that fishing boats come into? Sharks are killed as prize game fish and
strung up on the dock. Have a chat
with the local marina owner or manager and find out if he or she has heard of
the Shark Free Marina Initiative. This campaign establishes a ban on landing
any shark for any reason in the marina. It hopes to encourage catch and release
if people still insist on fishing for sharks. For more information check out www.sharkfreemarinas.com
Do not buy shark products.
Do you own a shark tooth necklace? Yes, they are cool, but where do you think
the teeth came from? Some may have been collected or are fossils, but most come
from sharks that are killed for the purpose or another. What about shark cartilage for certain
ailments? There is NO proof that is works for anything and is just a gimmick.
Do not buy it.
Be aware of what you are
eating. A lot of places use shark in their fish and chips or other fish dishes.
Shark is a cheap option for them and most people never question it. Always ask what the fish is. Look out
for names like, “hake,” and “flake,” as these are other terms for shark in
places like Australia. If it isn’t shark, is it a sustainable fish? If you do
eat fish, go online and get a Safe Seafood card for your area and find out what
types of fish are considered sustainable.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak up. Many times
people are afraid to cause a scene or create trouble, but there is no harm in
asking questions. Be prepared to get unsavory answers or negative responses.
You might also be surprised. Sometimes it just takes asking nicely or pointing
something out to make a change!
Keep our oceans clean. Next time you visit the beach take a
garbage bag with you. Pick up trash that you see. Organize a beach cleanup in
Everyone has a voice and everyone can do something!
For more information on helping sharks or for hi resolution copy of the image: