And the loss of sharks is not just about species blinking out, but a diminishment from their former abundance. “Sharks are beautiful animals, and if you’re lucky enough to see lots of them, that means that you’re in a healthy ocean. We aren't encouraging everyone to jump into the water with a great white shark without a cage, but we do advocate becoming educated and making an effort to meet a shark or two. Using its four fins as legs, and twisting its spine like a lizard, it can emerge from the water and hold its breath for an hour, strutting across the exposed reef and clambering between tide pools to find prey. A large number of sharks is a victim of bycatch, as result of commercial fishing since some of the most valued species are also the favorites of some species of sharks. Mother sharks can be pregnant for three years at a time, or have virgin births. New stories need to be told about sharks – the big ones and small ones, the ones that walk and glow, and all the other things they can be. The impact of predators on ecosystem health is well established and there is good evidence that the loss of predators can both directly impact prey species and indirectly affect other species. Our most ancient species are endangered. Since sharks support healthy seagrass meadows by preventing overgrazing, sharks play an important role in the carbon cycle. What’s unique is that it doesn’t so much swim along the seabed as walk. Today, some shark populations have decreased by 60-70%. In one very scientific video I found, they pointed out very clearly that sharks indirectly control the algae that produces much of the world’s oxygen! We exist, in part, because sharks did – and still do. In all, more than 1,000 elasmobranch species are alive today. October 22, 2014 by Bradnee Chambers . Sharks provide important services to the reef like cycling nutrients between it and the open ocean, removing invasive species, and removing weak fish carrying disease. Do You Value Hard Work? If Queensland has the right to cull sharks for the safety of their people, surely Western Australia deserves that right as well! During the Governor's Phased Reopen CT Plan, advanced-purchase, online timed-tickets are required. One in 10 shark species are bioluminescent: they light up in the dark. Just like the erasing of native fauna from the continents – of bears and wolves, tigers and lions, koalas and kakapos – so the oceans are now losing their sharks. But this depiction could not be further from reality. They are in most cases the top part of food chain, apex predators who are keeping the ecosystem healthy and in balance. Educate yourself and others about sharks. So, why do we need sharks in our oceans? For one, sharks are classified as an apex predator. However, there are some people who think otherwise. Sharks in some areas are worth much more alive than dead due to the growing popularity of shark ecotourism. “They maintain balance in ecosystems and keep things in order, removing weaker, sicker prey and stopping any single species from exploding in numbers and taking over.” One study comparing remote islands in the Central Pacific showed that when sharks are fished out, coral reefs can become dominated by small fish and overrun by algae. "It's not true that they can smell a drop of blood a mile away, because that's not how smell works," Shiffman says. An earlier version said there were more than 1,000 known species of shark, and more than 500 elasmobranch species. And that means more carbon in the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. These are bottom dwellers and considered “carpet fish.” They have a great ability to breath easily while resting on the sea floor. There is no good answer to "why" the natural order is as it is. Whether you love or loathe sharks, our oceans would look very different without them # ShareOurPlanet @OurPlanet. This is a basic, educational, conservation message for lower elementary students on sharks and why they are important. Why do we need shark savers? Why do we need sharks, anyway? Those that stay alive can spend decades, even centuries, absorbing man-made pollutants and plastics. Their populations are crashing as a result of overfishing, shark finning and bycatch, and the oceans are suffering as a result. Why do we need sharks? As predators go, it’s not especially big or ferocious – an arm’s length from head to tail, with a snuffling, moustachioed snout. Ever since the most famous moment in surfing history at this year’s J-Bay Open, it seems that sharks have been angling their cold, dead eyes towards the surfing community. Why Do People Kill Sharks? Some sharks puff up to look bigger and scarier than they really are. Sharks keep populations balanced. The removal of sharks from coral reef ecosystems has been shown to trigger an increase of smaller predators that prey on herbivorous fish. 1. The importance of sharks and the roles they play in the ocean are often unknown by the general public and therefore attitudes towards sharks and protecting them are quite negative. The fact is, sharks don't mistake us for turtles. Sharks are the top of the ocean's food chain. Shark Fin Soup. So, why do we need sharks in our oceans? They aren’t adapted to being prey, rather than predator: sharks grow slowly, spending ages as teenagers before reaching maturity; they lay few eggs and give birth to few pups, not enough to replenish dwindling populations. Individual sharks have seen their world become hotter and more acidic in their lifetime: Greenland sharks swimming around today were born when the Arctic Ocean was several degrees cooler. Not to mention, sharks allow for healthy fish to thrive while the weak and sick end up getting eaten. Sharks have amazing adaptations for hunting, such as their sense of smell. The cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning alone kills up to 73 million sharks every year, only to use less than five percent of the sharks’ bodies. Carbon is a critical element in … Due to overexploitation and lack of proper management, many shark species are under considerable risk of unrecoverable decline with some species having declined to near extinction in recent years. Fins are sliced off of sharks while their live bodies are tossed back into the ocean like trash. Underwater, sharks have the same effect on their prey — fish, turtles, seals, dolphins and even smaller sharks. Aloha!! Keep Prey Populations Healthy . We need sharks … Sharks also feed on creatures like jellyfish, which many other animals don't dare to do. With less herbivores, macroalgae expands and coral can no longer compete, shifting the ecosystem to one of algae dominance, affecting the survival of the reef system. As apex predators, sharks play an important role in the ecosystem by maintaining the species below them in the food chain and serving as an indicator for ocean health. Top Answer. Though no sharks have yet gone the way of the dodo, plenty of species are lined up for imminent extinction. They help remove the weak and the sick as well as keeping the balance with competitors helping to ensure species diversity. It turns out they are essential to life on our planet in some surprising ways and under siege in a way we can affect! For example, unlike fish, sharks don’t actually have scales. Sharks are like bouncers or really strict parents. Learn about a scientist, teacher or organization doing work to … Our Mission; Why it Matters; The Team; Partners Wiki User Answered . An apex predator is really just a fancy way of saying ‘top dog.’ It’s not just people that are scared of sharks. So, there’s only one issue pointing to why we should care. Just like skating in your favourite skate park, we all need to feel safe when we do fun and enjoyable activities. Scientific studies demonstrate that the removal of sharks can have an impact that cascades down the food chain. In more than 20 years of diving and researching the oceans I’ve had many encounters with wild sharks, each one a moment to treasure and note in my dive logbook. In honor of Shark Week 201, which kicks off July 28 on the Discovery Channel, we're sharing an updated version of one of our most popular shark blog posts. A number of shark species are "apex predators," which means they're at the top of the food chain and have no natural predators of their own. Sharks have long been portrayed as man-eaters, a menace to any swimmer brave (or foolish) enough to share the water with them. They hunt weak members of fish schools and quickly cull the mutated and ill fish before entire fisheries can be affected. Sharks are advanced. Sharks matter to humanity. Shark finning: why the ocean’s most barbaric practice continues to boom. Other times, humans kill sharks for fishing to use their meat as food and to use their fins for medicinal purposes. It's fine to try to protect sharks, but they need to be honest about it. Lv 4. Protecting sharks is essential for human survival and collapse of the salt water ecosystem. Sharks have long been portrayed as man-eaters, a menace to any swimmer brave (or foolish) enough to share the water with them. Why did the sharks get a bad rep and dolphins got to have Flipper?”. So, lets break this down and provide some answers as to what sharks bring to the table. The impact of predators on ecosystem health is well established and there is good evidence that the loss of predators can both directly impact prey species and indirectly affect other species. It’s a walking shark, and far from the stereotypical view of these baleful beasts, it tells an alternative story of how sharks look and live. Sharks are one of the most important species you will find in the sea, they’ve been navigating the oceans for millions of years thus helping other species evolve. The question of why the ocean (and the planet, for that matter) needs sharks is one that I see pop up quite often on message boards, blog comments, and video comments. Spread the word: We should be scared for sharks But these magnificent animals very rarely threaten humans: so why did dolphins get Flipper while sharks got Jaws? Eating shark meat exposes you to these potentially dangerous toxins, in particular, high levels of the methyl mercury. Despite being just necks with teeth and fins, they are pretty much the only reason we as humans are still alive. From our perspective, anyone can swim with sharks. In fact, most conservation efforts do not address the myriad of threats to shark populations. We … Shark Attacks (Bite Incidents) Richard Branson – Every year we celebrate Shark Week and we are reminded that we need to take action to protect these magnificent creatures now – before we lose them forever. And that means more carbon in the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. Sharks Help Keep the Carbon Cycle in Motion. Fear is certainly not being deliberately stoked by the very few people who’ve been attacked by sharks, many of whom, despite losing limbs, have become outspoken advocates for shark conservation. 3 4 5. Let me explain. Search Articles ; Menu. This was the wrong way round; there are more than 500 species of shark, but more than 1,000 species in the elasmobranchii sub-class, which includes not only sharks but also rays and skates. By taking sharks out of the coral reef ecosystem, the larger predatory fish, such as groupers, increase in abundance and feed on the herbivores. They’re both predators. Reefs provide sharks with sources of prey, habitats for nurseries, protection from predation, and even fish that work to remove parasites from their skin. An apex predator is really just a fancy way of saying ‘top dog.’ It’s not just people that are scared of sharks. For a diverse collection of aquarium-themed, eco-friendly items. 6. It’s estimated that 100 million sharks are killed by humans every year. Sharks store a lot of carbon in their own bodies, too—a study showed that by depleting populations of large animals in the ocean, such as whales and sharks, we have reduced the ocean’s capacity to store carbon by millions of tons. Literally! WE NEED SHARKS! Goodbye, Green Screen — Here’s the Tech That’s Changing Film Forever! Why did dolphins get Flipper while sharks got Jaws? But this depiction could not be further from reality. Because sharks directly or indirectly affect all levels of the food web, they help to maintain structure in healthy ocean ecosystems. Sharks fill a huge role in the food chain. They are the perfect hunting machine designed to survive any marine environment, there are species small, big and giant. Sharks are the perfect predator – formed by 450 million years of evolution having lived longer than the dinosaurs and surviving five major extinctions. To celebrate our emerging understanding of sharks’ true nature and investigate the many underreported ways in which humans rely on them, the Guardian is devoting a week to rethinking humanity's relationship with the shark – because if they are to survive, these predators cannot be prey for much longer. This kind of information is crucial if we are to determine which areas of river we need to protect for these sharks.” Mark M, Shark Conservation Project, Fiji. There are dozens of species of sharks, from toothy great whites to filter-feeding whale sharks. What do you think about the practice of killing sharks? Donate. Favorite Answer. You know that sharks are in trouble around the world. How are they different from a dolphin? Sharks occupy many different trophic levels in the oceans, some being meso predators and others apex predators standing at the top of the food chain. Advertisement. Sharks play a critical role in ocean ecosystem health. Why do people think that they’re so scary? In fact, sharks are extremely vulnerable, and their dwindling populations – largely owing to human behaviour – urgently need global protection. What happens when we overfish all of the sharks? Much is lost when they vanish from the seas. How could they think that when shark attacks are becoming more and more common? Without the sharks, jellyfish populations would sky-rocket and make it even less safe to swim, or at least extremely uncomfortable. Why do we need sharks to survive? Why should we save our sharks? 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