An abundance of sharks in the ocean means a healthy ecosystem. Sharks are one of the top predators in the ocean and are only supposed to have one rival. Instead, many species are being faced with challenges that are causing them to be pushed to the brink of extinction. Some of these factors include overfishing, finning, entanglement in marine debris and discarded fishing gear, as well as the bioaccumulation of toxins in their bodies. Although all of these causes are different, they do have one thing in common: they are all human-caused challenges that can be changed.
One-fourth of shark species are considered endangered and more than 50% of all species are listed as threatened or near threatened with extinction. As oceans become more polluted and sharks are still being killed for their fins and liver, these incredible creatures need our help now more than ever. At 4Ocean, we are fighting the fight against ocean pollution each and every day. It is critical for us to remove as much trash from the ocean and coastlines to help keep ocean environments clean and debris free as we all continue to fight for more protection for sharks around the world.
We know that there is only so much our team can do. This is why for the month of July we have decided to partner with Project Aware® - an organization who is as dedicated to protecting our oceans as we are. Project Aware is a global movement for ocean protection powered by a community of adventurers. They connect the passion for ocean adventure with the purpose of marine conservation. Like the 4Ocean team, the team at Project Aware creates both local and international change for the ocean and the communities who depend on it.
In addition to their Dive Against Debris ocean cleanups that have helped to remove over 1 million items of trash from the ocean, Project Aware is committed to shark conservation and creating initiatives and enforcing policies to protect these animals. Their current campaign, #Divers4Makos, is a petition-focused initiative relating to the population of the Atlantic Shortfin Mako Sharks. The goal is to influence the top Mako fishing countries- Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the United States to adopt the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) recommendations to cut the Shortfin Mako catch limit to zero in order to rebuild the population by 2040.
For the month of July, we will have our Black Limited Edition Shark Bracelet available for purchase. July is a significant month for shark conservation with National Shark Awareness Day on July 14th, SharkCon on July 14th and 15th, and Discovery Channel's Shark Week July 22nd - July 29th. With each bracelet purchased, not only will 4Ocean continue to remove 1 pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines, but we will also be working to save sharks around the world with the help of Project Aware. Be one of the first to get your Shark Bracelet - our most requested color and cause - in time for all of the exciting shark conservation and awareness days coming up this month! You can purchase your bracelet HERE.
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As we got closer to the ocean floor, we began to approach a reef; this reef was nothing short of epic. The colours were bright and everything appeared to be healthy with marine life flourishing... that was until the current changed. Within seconds, this heaving reef became surrounded with plastic and rubbish.