Feared, misunderstood and endangered!
For the third consecutive year, SEA LIFE Porto has associated itself with Shark Protection Week in Portugal, dedicating its October and November programming to the fabulous, but misunderstood, king of the seas - the shark.
Sharks have been around for over 350 million years. They exist since even before the dinosaurs. And yet, our knowledge of this fantastic animal is minimal and, in many respects, doesn’t correspond to reality. It is imperative to demystify the widespread and unrealistic ideas disseminated by Hollywood, of the shark as a killer.
During this month, we dedicated the program entirely to sharks:
guided tours, lectures "Myths and Truths about Sharks”; daily exhibition of the documentaries 'Sharkwater' and 'Deep Blue', workshops for schools, games and activities for kids, and much more.
Simultaneously, we launched the campaign SOS Sharks that consists in the sale of the book "Everything you ever wanted to know about Sharks" for € 1.50; from which € 0.50 were donated to the Shark Trust, an association for the protection of marine life dedicated to research, management and preservation of populations of sharks and rays, around in the world.
Until Man started to kill them in great numbers, the truth is that sharks had very few enemies.
Recent research has concluded that sharks have a unique menu of preys - and the man is not on the menu. Sharks feed on other fish and preys on water surfaces, such as seals or birds.
Rarely, sharks mistake human beings with their prey, and when it does, it releases them almost immediately. Sharks are attracted by conspicuous movements. A swimmer produces similar vibrations to that of a wounded fish. And that is why surfers are often mistaken for seals or sea lions.
Yearly, over 100 million sharks die by human hands.
Fins, a gastronomic treat
All around the world, fishing fleets trying to meet the growing demand for shark fins.
In areas of the world like the Far East, shark fin is considered a unique delicacy! Fin soup costs the lives of many sharks.
A quarter of the sharks and rays of the North Atlantic are endangered due to overexploitation of fishing, at a much higher level than in the rest of the world.
Their growth and development is very slow, and sexual maturity is reached very late in life. For many species, regeneration is very difficult and in some cases, it is already deemed impossible.
Sharks are highly vulnerable to unregulated fishing. Most species take a long time to develop and the young population is reduced, because the rate of reproduction is also reduced.
Whether because the legislation that determines the minimum measures of fishing is not met or because sharks are caught by mistake in fishing nets that are not meant to them, the truth is that many sharks are caught in fishing nets still juveniles, preventing their development, sexual maturation and
reproduction, and clearly putting at risk the survival of many species!
Did you know
- That coconuts kill more people worldwide than sharks? About 150 per year!
- It's much easier to die struck by lightning (1 chance in 4 million) than attacked by a shark (1 to 94 million)!
- If we follow the logic of numbers, we should be more afraid of dogs than sharks. They kill nine times more!
Truths about Sharks
Black Tip Shark
The black marks on their pectoral and dorsal fins name´s them black tips.
Curiosity: if it stops swimming... he will sink.
Port Jackson Shark
Did you know that the male and the female of the Port Jackson Shark spend the whole year apart and only reunite at the mating season? They swim over 800 km (500 miles) for the gathering!
Did you know that its scientific name translates as ‘shark with the flexible curly mouth’?
It’s a new species, found very recently in Indonesia! It belongs to the carpet sharks family, so named because they usually have a flattened appearance, similar to a rug under the sea!
Is in between the shark and the ray and it is the local artist. Although extremely curious and friendly, the Giant Guitarfish is a lonely superstar who doesn’t enjoy the proximity of other creatures, preferring to swim and to perform solo... no autographs!
A shark's life at SEA LIFE Porto
Angel Shark (Squatina squatina)
A predator that was once common on the Atlantic northeast, at the Black Sea and at the Mediterranean, the Angel Shark was pronounced extinct in many regions, mainly because it was regularly caught in fishing nets, meant for other species.
Ganges Shark (Glyphis gangeticus)
It is believed that the remaining individuals of this sweet water species are confined to the cloudy waters of the Ganges and Hooghly rivers.
Smoothback Angel Shark (Squatina occulta)
The slow reproduction and the recovery difficulties of the adult population in the face of overexploitation fishing threaten this deep water shark.
Great White Shark – its fins are worth more than £4000!
Hammerhead Shark – its fins are among some of the most wanted, despite their meat is nearly worthless on the market.
Whale Shark, the biggest fish in the Oceans! And one of the most harmless...
The most endangered species