Shark Day 2016 - 100 Million Sharks Are Killed Each Year!

Shark Day 2016 - 100 Million Sharks Are Killed Each Year!

Posted by Michael Starbuck on 18th Jul 2016

Let’s begin by clearing something up. Shark Day is all about appreciating these incredible creatures which live beneath the waves, not fearing them. It is a day which people all around the world use to raise awareness of the catastrophic rate at which sharks are being killed by humans. It is a day which is drastically needed.

Sharks Are Less Deadly Than You May Think

Great White Shark

By now it is common knowledge that the fear humans have towards sharks is misplaced, but did you know that you are more likely to be killed by a cow than you are by a shark? In America alone cows kill 20 people per year on average. Sharks kill just 1.

If that doesn’t put into context the relative lack of danger that sharks pose to humans then this next statistic should. Last year (2015), accidents that took place while people were taking selfies claimed the lives of 12 people. In that period shark attacks resulted in 6 deaths.

Humans However, Are Not

When you take a look at the number of sharks that are killed by humans each year it becomes extremely evident as to why Shark Day is needed. It is estimated that humans kill on average 2 million sharks each week.

This equates to 100 million sharks being killed by humans each year and this number is the reason why shark numbers are plummeting.

North American scientists published findings in the Marine Policy journal that stated that between 6.4% and 7.9% of all sharks are being killed. This range is well above the one from which shark populations could recover, and this is leading to a decline in a number of species.

Why are they being killed?

The human threat towards sharks is three-fold:

  • Commercial fishing is the biggest threat, with shark meat, fins, and cartilage all prized as a food source in certain countries. Sharks are often caught and de-finned there and then on a boat before being cast back into the sea. Unfortunately without their fins, these sharks die.
  • Bycatch from commercial fisheries is also a major problem. When these fisheries are targeting popular food sources such as tuna they will inadvertently capture sharks in their haul, and as they are an unintended catch, they will be thrown overboard either already dead or injured beyond help.

Fishing Trawler

  • The final issue facing not only the shark population, but the animal population in general is habit degradation. Pollution, global warming, and the destruction of areas such as reefs and mangroves are limiting the places sharks can live, breed, and hunt, which in turn means that they are dying out.

What can be done?

It may seem that as an individual there is not a lot you can do about the plight of the shark but that is not the case. Shark Day 2016 is centred on raising awareness of the problems facing these magnificent creatures, and this is the easiest way to help the cause. You can share this blog, write your own, or think of another creative way to tell more people about sharks. It really is up to you how you spread the word, as long as you do!

If you want to take a more hands on approach to shark conservation then you may want to take a closer look at conservation projects like The Great White Shark Project. This is one of the best ways to learn more about these impressive beasts through first-hand experience.

Sharks have remained almost unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, but if we do not act soon the shark’s timeline on this earth could come to an abrupt end.


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