Narrator: Sharks have kept balance in the oceans for over 450 million years. This makes sharks older than dinosaurs. Surviving several mass extinctions, sharks are evolution perfected.
There are over 400 different species of sharks, all with varying diets. Sharks keep the ocean in balance by eating sick and weak fish. This allows for all sea creature populations to grow healthy and strong.
Having an ocean filled with strong populations of fish allows all species to thrive. This is called biodiversity. People are scared of sharks. But really, sharks should be scared of people. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed annually due to overfishing. Roughly, 30% are killed in fishing bycatch. The other 70% are killed for their fin in an act called shark finning.
In shark finning, sharks are stripped of their fins and often tossed back into the ocean where they drown. 98% of the shark is wasted. The shark fins are then used to make shark fin soup. However, there is no nutritional value in a shark fin and it has no taste.
But because of overfishing, 1/3 of shark species alive today are in danger. This is problematic because sharks are slow growing and live a long time. The populations need time to heal from being hunted.
If sharks disappear, it could cause an imbalance to the fish in the sea. Seals could eat all the fish. Without fish to eat, the cetaceans and pinnipeds could all die. Humans would soon destroy the crustacean populations.
Without whales, fish, cetaceans and pinnipeds in the ocean, plankton would overpopulate. Plankton crowding would cause the ocean to turn pink and orange. The water would be filthy. Without ocean creatures as a source of food, some land animals will start to die.
The crisis in the ocean could begin affecting seabirds, bears, bats and gators, which could begin slowly affecting various chains of land animals, plants, and eventually our air quality. This cascade effect is called the trophic cascade.
But there is good news, we can all help save the sharks and keep balance in our ocean. Encourage ecotourism. Ecotourism could be a way to provide positive jobs for shark hunters through licensed shark ... scuba trips and vacation spots around the world.
Write to a government representative and tell them to ban shark finning. Make sure the fish you eat was caught in a shark friendly way. Long lines and troll-caught fish often accidentally catch and kill sharks. Lastly, inform your friends and spread the word.There may be small errors in this transcript.