We must be honest with you, when we first heard of “Shark Awareness Day” our initial thoughts were; interesting, a day that spread awareness on the dangers of sharks and how to protect yourself in case you ever come across one (I blame Hollywood for this). But we were so wrong. Shark Awareness Day couldn't be any different.
Sharks are apex predators, they are the top of the food chain and play a huge role in keeping the oceans habitat in check. Interestingly THREE new species of shark are found every year and although we don't know for sure how many species there are, the total number of species are well over 500!
One fact about sharks that blows our mind is that they are over 450 million years old! They have been around longer than Mt. Everest and sharks somehow have managed to survive four of the five mass extinctions?!!?
Sharks are truly incredible and Shark Awareness day happens on the 14th July to highlight the plight sharks face as a result of, well, humans (not the other way around) and to try to dispel any bad reputations or stigmas surrounding sharks.
You should know now that you have a 1 in 4 million chance of being bitten by a shark which equates to around 10 people a year but humans kill 100 million sharks every year.
What are sharks greatest threats?
One of the biggest threats sharks face is as a result of bycatch fisheries AND overfishing. Often sharks get caught in nets while hunting fish and won’t survive the trauma or just the incident itself. The issue with overfishing is that it leaves the sharks with depleted food sources and therefore results in a decline in shark numbers.
Sadly another influence on declining shark numbers is a because of a famous and popular dish known as shark fin soup.. Shark fin soup is so cruel because of the way the sharks are finned whereby, fishermen catch the sharks, chop their fins off and throw the rest of the shark straight back into the sea.
Shark fin soup is popular in Chinese communities all over the world and is eaten almost as a show of status. This soup is often eaten at events such as Chinese New Year and weddings. One bowl of shark fin soup could reach up to $100 but while the Chinese economy continues to grow so does the need for this cruel soup.
There is still hope! According to the Washington Post, famous former National Basketball Association player Yao Ming helped educate Chinese people about the cruelty of the shark fin trade. He took part in a shocking but very moving advert for national television and and as a result, consumption of shark fin in China plummeted.
According to PEW, a recent study in the journal Nature reveals that, since 1970, the global abundance of these predators has declined more than 70 percent as a result of bycatch fisheries and shark finning. PEW also explains that half of these species now are classified as endangered or critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
Why do we need sharks?
Sharks play one of, if not the most important roles in our oceans. According to The Shark Trust, sharks do this by keeping other populations in check and preying on the sick and old. This prevents the spread of disease and improves the gene pool.
Sharks also bring great joy to many divers and are the most amazing sight to see while you're in the Ocean, whether it be in a cage or just free diving.
In previous years we have partnered with The Discovery Channel in a bid to spread awareness of the importance of protecting sharks over shark week. You can watch what DiscoverChannel are doing this week on The Latest Shark Week News on Discovery. The image you can see on this blog is one of the five-hundred sharks we made for them!
Ocean Sole + Shark Awareness Day
For the whole of Shark Week and especially Shark Awareness day we are using our platforms to spread awareness on these amazing creatures.If you would like to support us on our journey to help sharks and clean our oceans, you can buy one of our lovely shark products! We are so excited to also be launching a new product tomorrow which is our Shark Bottle Openers!