What can I actually do to benefit Sharks?

6th May 2016 | by

It's a very fair question.  When sharks face seemingly insurmountable threats, the doom and gloom can easily make you feel apathetic.  

What can I actually do to benefit Sharks?

To combat this apathy we’ve compiled a short list of positive actions; small things that can make a big difference.

Here are five simple steps that everyone can take and  even an easy way to remember them!  Just remember one of our favourite sharks: T.I.G.E.R

  1. Tuna

Lots of people like to eat Tuna, it’s delicious! The sad fact is a lot of fishing methods used to catch tuna are very damaging to sharks; often they’re caught accidentally by long lines or FAD’s.

Your purchasing choices can make a real difference:

  • Look for ‘pole and line’, ‘troll’, ‘handline’ or ‘FAD-free’ tuna products.
  • Choose skipjack tuna or Pacific albacore tuna over yellowfin tuna.
  • Avoid big eye & blue fin tuna – they’re already critically endangered.
  • Sustainable tuna doesn’t mean expensive, even some own brand names (e.g. Sainsbury’s) support sustainability.
  • Greenpeace have created really helpful lists showing where to buy sustainable tuna here
skipjack tuna

Image care of the PEW charitable trust

  1. Inspire

Sharks get a bad press – it sells papers and increases click counts. Hyperbole and inflammatory language in news articles all contribute to the “monster” image of Jaws.

  • If you get into a conversation about sharks, be POSITIVE! It’s up to us to change perception.
  • Remember: Sharks are older than dinosaurs, harm fewer people in a year than bees and are vital for the health of our oceans.
  • Connect with SharkStuff to discover more, ask any questions you might have to help dispel myth.
  • All people CAN help and everyone CAN effect positive change.

SharkStuff Profile

  1. Get Involved

Follow the work of Shark Advocates International and The Shark Trust on Twitter or through their websites:

  • These non-profit organisations fight tirelessly to improve protection of sharks through policy and legislation.
  • They often circulate powerful campaigns in which you can participate easily by signing petitions or sending emails to relevant politicians. Get Involved!
  • Visit http://www.sharkadvocates.org
  • Visit http://www.sharktrust.org/

shark advocates     shark-trust-1280x853.jpg

              

  1. Eggs

If you’re ever at a beach, have a look for shark and ray eggs, commonly called mermaid’s purses.

Most countries have an organisation that collects records of egg case finds to help map species distributions and trends in egg case numbers.

shark eggs watermark

Small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) egg cases

  1. Rubbish

Marine pollution is a huge threat to sharks – they can get entangled in it or eat it by mistake, toxins associated with plastics that have been eaten by their prey accumulate in sharks causing health problems; even more simply, they lose habitat that has been destroyed by litter.

  • While you’re looking for shark egg cases or enjoying time at the beach pick up some litter while you’re there.
  • Volunteer with local beach cleans such as those organised by our local friend the Sea Hippy.
beach litter.jpg

Image care of Jess Bone “The Sea Hippy”

 

So there you go! Five simple steps literally anyone could do to help make a difference for sharks all over the world.

If you’ve any other ideas or great examples of how your efforts have contributed to conserving sharks, let us know!  Drop us a line at the SharkStuff Facebook page and tell us of your successes.

 

 

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