The controversy over shark hunting and finning has been raging strong for several years now, with many landmark decisions being made worldwide in favor of protecting shark species from being exploited. But simply curbing finning activity isn’t enough — sharks still fall victim to many other threats every day, including becoming accidental bycatch on fishing tackle that targets other marine species, and culling campaigns implemented by governments in an effort to allay fears of the beachgoing public.
While SCUBA divers, marine experts, and conservationists the world over are acutely aware of the importance of sharks in marine ecosystems, it is a safe assumption that the majority of the public is not, and most certainly not aware of the consequences of shark extinction. With estimates of roughly 100 million sharks killed annually, the time to consider what the implications of shark extinction are to the rest of the world is now.
Our basic education of ecosystem balance, including the food chain and apex predators, comes fairly early in life, typically in elementary school. Kids today have very current examples of what happens when ecosystems become unbalanced through the plight of sharks, a problem which many of us were not faced with in our childhoods. The lack of such a vivid example of an ecosystem in peril in previous generations has indirectly contributed to widespread ignorance of the issues at hand, so constant education and vigilance is necessary if we, as humans, want to ensure the future of our world for generations to come.
This video entitled FINconceivable by California College of the Arts undergraduate student Lily Williams contains vital information about the importance of sharks in our oceans and how we all can participate in shark conservation, while presenting it in a format that appeals to people of all ages. It’s adorable and poignant all at once, which are traits we here at Aquaviews embrace when it comes to marine conservation awareness. Enjoy, and be sure to share!
Image via Rod Waddington