All over the world you’ll easily find people who care about preserving our oceans: You’ll see people shouting through megaphones to free orcas from tanks at Sea World, crowds that gather to clean our beaches of plastic pollution and people donating money to plant corals and mangroves in our seas. — All amazing work!
However, sharks are a different story. They polarise the community. Why? We are less likely to protect something we don’t like, let alone if we are scared of it. They fulfil many primal fears; sharp teeth, glowing eyes and living in infinite darkness.
Today, over 51% of the American public are terrified of sharks and another 38% say they are too afraid to go into the ocean.
You might be thinking ‘well of course, sharks are dangerous!’. Wrong. Your Christmas tree is more dangerous than any shark in the ocean. In fact your odds of being killed by a shark incident are 1 in 3,748,067. To put that into perspective your likelihood of dying from falling out of bed is 1 in 225,879.
Not only do sharks get a very unfair bad reputation, they are VITAL for a healthy ecosystem. Sharks are apex predators at the top of the food chain. They keep the whole ocean in check. If you lose the sharks everything falls apart. Sadly, that is exactly what is happening. Sharks are now at an unprecedented risk of extinction after a 71 percent decline! A crazy 100 million are killed every single year. One Hundred Million.
This week at our AMA we are speaking to Dr. Sara Andreotti from Stellenbosch University about an incredible invention — the Shark Safe Barrier. The Shark Safe Barrier is an innovative technology to stop sharks from entering areas where people swim. It has been developed to ensure the safety of beach goers from shark related incidents. On the surface this invention seems to just be about protecting people. On a deeper level this invention is protecting sharks from strategies such as shark-culling which negatively impacts the environment in a multitude of ways.
Tune in as we chat with Dr. Sara Andreotti on Twitch at 5pm UTC and please send in your questions on Twitter. If we have got your attention about sharks and now you want to save them (celebratory trumpet fare) tune in on Instagram this week where we will be talking about sharks in much more detail.
Thanks for your support and see you at the talk!