It wasn't until I watched Sharkwater last year that I realized how uninformed I was about sharks and shark finning:
1. Sharks are top predators – important animals that help maintain the health and balance of our ocean ecosystem, which we depend on;
2. Sharks are misunderstood animals that rarely attack or kill;
3. Shark finning is the major cause of the demise of shark populations around the world and is a cruel and wasteful industry.
It's not just actors fighting for sharks - these athletes are carrying the torch for shark conservation. Wildaid, an organization seeking to reduce the threat to sharks from over-fishing, has collaborated with Olympic swimmers Tara Kirk and Amanda Beard and NBA star Yao Ming, to create a series of PSAs about the importance of shark conservation. The campaign, "When the buying stops, the killing can too", refers to the slaughter of millions of sharks for popular products, such as shark fin soup, and drives viewers to consider the impact of their purchases on the shark population.
Actress January Jones doesn't just swim with sharks on the hit TV show, Mad Men.
The blond bombshell is helping bust another myth about sharks – that humans should live in fear of them. Instead, we should be afraid for sharks, an animal under immense pressure from human activities.
Conservation has changed from hugging trees and saving pandas into saving humanity and the ecosystems that we depend on for survival. If people realized the difference - that we're now fighting for humanity - even the most controversial conservation efforts would be viewed as heroic. We're now in the most important battle humans have ever faced. Now, this century, our survival is in jeopardy.
The most important issue facing the oceans is awareness. People can't see what happens in the oceans, so what is out of sight is out of mind. We waste 54 billion pounds of fish each year while 8 million people die of starvation. 90% of all large predators in the ocean are gone and every fishery will have entirely collapsed by 2048. If the public knew that we depend on the oceans for survival, yet we're destroying them every day in unprecedented ways, they would take a stand, just as they spoke out for whales and for holes in the ozone layer.
It's time to rethink the shark. Long misunderstood as vicious, human-eating creatures of the deep ocean, the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOS) is busting this myth in a clever PSA challenging viewers to rethink sharks and reshape their own beliefs.
Last year, only four people died from shark attacks, a small number compared to the number of deaths by other accidents, and the 100 million sharks killed by humans each year.
It’s officially Shark Week on the Discovery Channel starting August 1st, so get into the mood with this survey:
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