August 19th, 2021
The crucial role that sharks play
It's common for us humans to have a fear of sharks. We hear stories about shark attacks that feed this fear when, in reality, sharks are far from the deadly water creatures movies and rare stories make them out to be. The truth is, shark attacks are actually extremely rare and most sharks are actually very safe to swim with! Besides sharks being misunderstood animals, they are also crucial members of our oceans.
Sharks keep our oceans healthy
Sharks are top predators, also known as apex predators. This means they have very few or no predators of their own. Apex predators play an important role, as they keep other populations in balance. With sharks being top predators, they also protect marine plants by preventing overgrazing of marine habitats. For example, tiger sharks prevent green turtles from overgrazing, which keeps seagrass ecosystems stable. Overgrazing poses a huge threat to other extremely important species and sharks prevent these threats from happening.
Sharks preserve ecosystems by keeping a natural carbon cycle in motion. Sharks feed off of dead marine life at the bottom of the ocean. When sharks pass, their bodies also fall to the bottom of the ocean, similar to whales and other larger marine animals. This carbon cycle prevents unnecessary carbon from being released into our atmosphere and keeps oceans alive and well.
How you can save the sharks
Shark populations are quickly decreasing due to climate change, overfishing and habitat loss. Over a quarter of the worlds shark populations are near extinction. It's estimated that 100 million sharks are killed by human behavior and/or activities every year. These numbers are extremely dangerous, so we need to act fast to save the sharks that are protecting our oceans.
You can help by doing a number of things. First off, avoid buying shark products, especially unethically made/obtained shark products. The money we are willing to spend on shark products decides how sharks are used.
You can also donate to reputable foundations that are on a mission to protect sharks. One of our favorites here at Hülya Swim is Project Hiu! We are working with Project Hiu for our upcoming swimsuit collection by giving 30% of the proceeds to their cause.
It's also important to only buy sustainably sourced seafood. Overfishing poses a huge threat to many ocean animals, including sharks.
The next way you can help is one you've heard before, but can really make a difference. Avoid single use plastics! Reuse and recycle as much as possible. Humans continue to pollute our delicate oceans everyday with our overuse of single use plastics.
Written by Anna Rojo
The important role of sharks. (2019, July 31.) National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. https://marinesanctuary.org/blog/the-important-role-of-sharks/?gclid=CjwKCAjwgviIBhBkEiwA10D2j69wKIEqPZg_rI17Ccf-2tiBavb_5IB_Sho2zqH6b1h_keUvFhmHMBoCZh0QAvD_BwE
Why are sharks important? (n.d.) Save Our Seas Foundation. https://saveourseas.com/why-are-sharks-important/