Why Sharks Should be Protected
by Livi Rodman
Galeophobia is the fear of sharks that many across the world suffer from. For decades, the media has depicted sharks to be monsters that kill people all the time. Movies such as “Jaws” and “The Meg” show these creatures as something that people should be fearful of in their everyday life. In reality, shark attacks rarely happen and only 9 people have been involved in a fatal shark attack this year. In contrast, 2-3 sharks are killed every second by humans, which adds up to 100 million sharks every year. It is estimated that by the year 2040, all sharks will be extinct. Sharks must be protected because if they go extinct, the oceanic ecosystem collapses and eventually, the world will end.
Sharks have been around for 400 million years. They are one of the longest living creatures in the world and they have managed to survive many mass extinction events. It would be incredibly tragic and disappointing if humans were the ones to take these majestic creatures away from the world. Although it is illegal in many countries, finning remains to be a large problem for sharks. People will catch sharks, cut all their fins off, and then throw them back into the ocean why they are still alive (with no fins to swim anywhere). Not only is this incredibly cruel, but it is also completely useless. Fishermen could make more money by catching fish or other species.
Shark Finning is the main cause for these creatures' rapid decrease and if it continues to happen, it will be detrimental to the ocean. Sharks are a keystone species which means that if they disappear, the whole ecosystem will collapse. When sharks die off, fish species will increase at a rapid rate and as the fish population rises and they continue to eat, eventually they will eat all their food sources, which not only causes the extinction of plankton, crustaceans, and mollusks, but it will also cause these fish to starve and die off as well. After they all die off, the coral reefs will die as well. Eventually, this chain reaction will cause every other species in the ocean to die off.
The ocean dying off would be tragic but many humans will still not care, since they may think it will not affect them; however, if the ocean dies out, so will everything on land. 70% of the oxygen that humans use comes from the phytoplankton in the ocean. If they die out, then carbon emissions will override the atmosphere, causing the inevitable death of the rest of the world. So what can humans do to help sharks? To start, you can spread the word about what is happening. Many people are unaware of this subject. Change can only happen when people come together. Sharks can be saved but it starts with people standing up for them.