Sharks: Arguably One of the Most Feared Animals in the World. – Ocean Sole

This year for Shark Awareness Day, we’d like to spend some time talking about these misunderstood marine creatures.

Sharks are probably one of the most feared animals in the world, but that’s only because they are one of the most misunderstood creatures on this planet.

Contrary to what most people believe, sharks are harmless to humans if they are unprovoked.


Yearly, global shark attacks are less than 100. Research has shown that sharks typically will only bite humans out of curiosity or when they can’t get clear visibility on their target.

There’s a greater chance of being struck by lightning than being attacked or killed by a shark!

Today, there are over 500 known species of sharks, ranging from the tiny dwarf lantern shark, which is able to fit into the palm of your hand, to the gigantic whale shark, which can clock in at up to 10 meters.

As a top predator in our ocean’s ecosystem, sharks play a vital role in keeping the seas healthy and productive.

However, various threats make these ocean giants a targeted and vulnerable species. Shark Awareness Day is all about highlighting the dangers facing sharks and what we can do to protect them.

 Shark awareness day 2022


Sadly, more than 100 million sharks are killed by humans in a year through the following human practices.

  1. Overfishing and Bycatch
According to studies and research, the shark population has reduced by an exponential 71% since 1970.
This fact is particularly  alarming because a reduced shark population can have grave impacts on the environment. Sharks keep the ocean health in check by keeping the population of other sea inhabitants under control.
For example, sharks prey on sea turtles, who eat seagrass that is important for carbon storage. If the sea turtle population increases, the carbon stores are threatened and, by extension, so is the environment.
2. The Worldwide Demand for Commodities has Contributed to Illegal Shark Finning
Shark finning notably is a cruel practice, in which just the fins are taken for food and the live animals thrown back into the sea where they will soon drown or be eaten by another predator.
As a result of these activities, experts believe that over the past 50 years shark numbers have declined by more than 70%, a catastrophic loss to the biodiversity of our oceans.
Examples of commodities: shark-fin soup and shark-tooth medallions
3. Pollution
Sharks are at the top of our ocean’s food chain. As apex predators, their primary food source is dependent on prey that consume other species at a lower trophic level.
In comparison to other ocean species, this makes sharks seriously more prone to bioaccumulation. So, if a fish towards the bottom of the food chain is exposed to toxins or consumes pollution including microscopic plastic pieces there’s a significant chance that a shark consuming it will absorb those contaminants through ingestion. 
The pieces don’t just have to be ingested to cause a problem, either. The plastic may be inhaled through the gills or become lodged or entangled around extremities, causing irreparable damage to vital bodily systems over time. Typically, smaller species will consume these little pieces of plastic, and sharks end up acquiring all of it as they consume their prey.

What can we do to help Sharks?

International Shark Awareness Day gives us an opportunity to bring awareness to the plight of sharks as they have now been listed as endangered.

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, three of the most endangered shark species are the oceanic whitetip shark, the scalloped hammerhead and the great hammerhead sharks.

These three species of sharks are now classified as ‘critically endangered’ which means they face an extremely high risk of extinction.

You can be the voice for sharks by…

1. Avoid Buying Real Shark Products

Sharks are hunted for their meat, skin, and fins. So many places in the world offer special fin soups or products made out of shark leather. Boycott such places and encourage others to do so too.

2. Educate Others & Spread the Word

Help spread awareness about this day & the growing endangered shark problem by talking about it with others.

Pop culture has done serious damage to sharks' overall public perception. We can help by spreading positivity & true facts about the good sharks do for our ecosystem. 

3. Donate to Organizations

Sharks and environmental protection organizations need your help more than ever. They require funds and promotion, and you can help with that by donating your time or money and continuously spreading the conservation word.

At Ocean Sole we continue to raise awareness for the sharks by making sculptures that voices their plight. 15% of all proceeds go to conservation efforts and helping keep endangered species alive.

Shop our hand-carved flip flop shark art HERE!

We believe that nothing is impossible! If we come together, we can help give these magnificent creatures a safe home in the oceans. It is possible!

At Ocean Sole, we are a registered non-profit, whose mission is to clean polluted beaches and provide careers to Artisans in high-impact communities.

Email for custom projects, creative ideas, or just to see how to stay connected & get involved with our mission!

     By Maureen Simba

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