With more than 400 million years of evolution behind them, sharks have survived all kinds of planet-altering events while many other species simply vanished. However, in just the last few decades, some shark species have seen a dramatic decline in numbers by as much as 80% due to the action of humans. Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year for their meat, livers, and fins and countless others are threatened by entanglement in discarded fishing nets and other marine debris. This disturbing trend could eventually lead to the collapse of many marine ecosystems worldwide.
Situated at the top of the food chain, sharks are incredibly important to keeping the ocean environment in balance. They feed on the sick and weak as well as keep some potentially destructive fish populations from exploding and taking over a particular location. Because sharks are apex predators, they are particularly susceptible to the bioaccumulation of toxins in their bodies from the prey they eat. Things like plastic break down into microplastics and are eaten by small fish. These microplastics then break down further into toxins that stay in the fishes’ system and eventually work their way up the food chain in ever increasing concentrations, only to cause significant harm to sharks when ingested over time.
Another significant point is that sharks, in general, take a long time to mature sexually and have low birth rates. This is important because it means that it is very difficult for them to recover once their numbers have been depleted. Take the Atlantic Shortfin Mako, for example. Their populations have been decimated by years of unregulated fishing, both on the commercial and recreational side. Even if a zero-catch limit were to be imposed today, the species only has a 54% chance of recovering by 2040.
That is why this month, we have partnered with Project AWARE® to raise global awareness about these and other issues facing sharks as well as to help combat the plastic debris problem first-hand through cleanups. Their #Divers4Makos and Dive Against Debris® campaigns are truly helping to change the course of shark conservation on a global scale and we encourage you to get involved with their efforts.
In honor of shark conservation, 4ocean is offering the Limited Edition Shark Bracelet during the month of July. Each bracelet sold removes one pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines so that dangerous items like plastic and marine debris never have a chance to make it into the open ocean where they might be encountered by sharks or the prey they eat. In addition, every bracelet purchased also helps to further Project AWARE’s mission to create a future where the ocean no longer needs protecting.
Purchase and proudly wear your Shark bracelet and help spread the word so that we can all take responsibility toward a more sustainable future for our planet and for sharks!
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Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year for their meats, livers, and fins.
Each bracelet purchased removes trash and supports shark conservation.
Some shark populations around the world are down by as much as 80%.