White Shark Conservation Marine Conservation Great White Conservation

Dear Shark,

How do I save thee, let me count the ways . . .

1. Mind Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Energy Consumption

Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can, be conscious of your energy use, switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, take the stairs, and bundle up to avoid over-setting your thermostat.

2. Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices

Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthful and sustainable

3. Use Fewer Plastic Products

Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in non-disposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible.

4. Help Take Care of the Beach

Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach clean-ups.

5. Don’t Purchase Items That Exploit Marine Life

Certain products contribute to the harming of fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing items such as coral jewellery, tortoiseshell hair accessories, and shark products.

6. Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner

Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught salt-water fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem.

7. Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean

Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national organization and consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy. If you live near the coast, join up with a local branch or group and get involved in projects close to home.

8. Influence Change in Your Community

Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Consider patronizing restaurants and grocery stores that offer only sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or at the seafood counter.

9. Travel the Ocean Responsibly

Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option.

10. Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life

All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.

11. Say NO to shark fin soup

Every year tens of millions of sharks die a slow death because of finning. Finning is the inhumane practice of hacking off the shark’s fins and throwing its still living body back into the sea. The sharks either starve to death or are eaten alive by other fish, or drown (if they are not in constant movement their gills cannot extract oxygen from the water). Say no - and demand your local restaurant to take it off their menu.

12. Be aware and informed consumers.

Know what you are buying. Often shark is relabelled as other types of fish, like rock salmon, included in fish patties like Pollock. It is also hidden from consumers under misleading names (on labels) – for example chondroitin which can be sourced from shark cartilage.

13. Keep sharks out of your cosmetics

Never use any products (including make-up, lotions and deodorants) that contain Squalene - shark liver oil. In fact, just buy cruelty free.

14. Do not consume or purchase shark - it’s dangerous

It isn’t just the soup. Do not eat shark steaks or meat, do not eat imitation crab, lobster or shrimp (it often contains shark), and do not eat white fish, rock salmon or the other names for it. This isn’t just for the sharks’ health – it’s for yours. Shark meat (including fins) carries warnings due to its high mercury levels from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Defence Fund, and the World Health Organization. If you want to know what mercury does, just Google “mercury poisoning” and prepare to be horrified. Still want to eat it?

15. Learn about the shark species that are in danger.

Over 110 species of sharks are now listed as under threat on the World Conservation Union’s Red List, while another 95 species are near threatened. Fear – ignorance and fear causes the loss of many sharks in waters all around the world.

16. Explore the ways in which sharks ensure a healthy ocean ecology.

These predators ensure health in the ocean by keeping other ocean populations under control and by removing diseased and genetically defective individuals from other species. As an apex predator (like wolves and lions), their loss would weaken the ocean ecology and cause an imbalance of many other species.

17. Find out what shark protection measures are already in place in your country.

Are they adequate measures or not? Are there some species still not protected? Does your country ban the importation of shark fins or other products? What are the assumptions about sharks being held by the politicians and bureaucrats in your country? Find out and write letters of concern along with suggestions for how your country could be better protecting sharks. Your knowledge and active participation is empowerment for the sharks too!

18. Speak Out and defend sharks.

Always report, to the proper authorities, anyone you witness mal-aligning or abusing this incredibly valuable animal.

19. Develop a voice.

Be heard! Blog, write articles, appeal to media outlets and help dispel the myths. Don’t support media outlets that demonize sharks.

20. Spread the enlightenment.

Increase your Shark IQ. Learn more and then teach others. Host a local screening of Shark water and have a discussion afterwards. Be a shark ambassador.

21. Make your vote count.

Even if you aren’t living in a country that is heavily consuming sharks, chances are, your country is part of the problem. The US and many countries in the EU are responsible for catching more sharks than most other countries in the world. Support legislation that stops shark fishing, protects shark habitats, and ends overfishing. It’s not just about the sharks – it’s about the oceans.

The Marine Living Resources Act (Act 18 of 1998)

This act controls the exploitation of marine plants and animals in South African waters. There are a small number of regulations that pertain to sharks, most but not all of which are summarised below. The great white shark went under protection in 1991 with South Africa being the first country in the world to do implement the following act: “If a great white shark is caught or killed unintentionally, then the white shark must be kept in a whole state and handed over to a fisheries officer. No white shark, part or product thereof may be sold”. In 2005, the whale shark and the basking shark were added to the prohibited species list.

At White Shark Projects we believe in conservation through creating an awareness of sharks. We encourage our clients to spread the message, and make a difference.

Ways you can help:

  • Dive and snorkel with sharks. The more money goes into shark tourism the more people realize the value of living sharks.
  • Refuse to eat shark fin soup and don’t eat at restaurants that serve it; encourage others to do the same. Seventeen countries have already banned shark finning. Find out if your country is one of them. If not, write to your local government official asking to ban shark finning.
  • Demand that your country stop the importation of shark fins.

Ways in which some of our clients have helped:

Morgan Flowerday is a normal 12 year old girl from Hout Bay in South Africa. She likes stuff most teenagers do, swimming, music, dragons, Greek Gods, collects crystals, loves hanging out with her friends etc. But then she also has an immense empathy for wildlife and conservation, and the great white shark is particularly close to her heart.

 

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