SHARKS IN DANGER
Sharks have lived in our oceans for over 400 hundred million years and they have survived five mass extinctions, showing that they are perfectly adapted to their environment.
Without sharks, marine eco-systems would face an uncertain future, so protecting these species is vital.
WHY ARE SHARKS IMPORTANT?
Most sharks are top predators and therefore play a key role in marine ecosystems. Losing sharks from our oceans is likely to have a damaging effect on marine ecosystems.
Most sharks grow slowly, mature late, and give birth to a small number of pups after a long gestation period. Consequently, shark populations quickly decline when they are targeted by fisheries and recover slowly, if at all.
THE BIGGEST THREAT HUMANS
Despite being perfectly adapted to their environment, sharks are now among the most endangered species on the planet. This is largely due to human activities such as overfishing, being caught as bycatch during fishing activities, shark finning, and habitat destruction.
FINNING is the process of cutting off the fins of a shark and discarding the body at sea, often while the shark is still alive. As they can no longer swim, the sharks will die as a result of starvation, being eaten by other marine creatures, or drowning. An upper estimate suggests that the fins of as many as 73 million sharks are traded annually.
Where figures exist, they suggest that Hong Kong is the world’s shark fin trading centre, accounting for an estimated 50%-80% of all fins traded worldwide. The European Union has supplied approximately one third of all fins imported into Hong Kong.
YOU CAN HELP
Our partner charity, The SEA LIFE Trust, actively supports projects and campaigns to help protect sharks in the wild. They are currently supporting the call for firm limits to be placed on shark fishing in European waters. You can find out more, and sign up to the campaign at www.nolimitsnofuture.org
For more information about the SEA LIFE Trust please visit www.sealifetrust.org