Humans are ᴋɪʟʟing sharks at an unprecedented rate. An estimated 100 million a year are ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ for meat, as byproducts of commercial fishing, ᴘᴏʟʟᴜᴛion, and out of fear. This is causing shark populations to drastically decline in numbers.
Sharks may be scary, but without them, the ocean is in great ʀɪsᴋ of ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ. We humans think that sharks are ᴄʀᴜᴇʟ, ᴍᴇʀᴄɪʟᴇss, ʙʟᴏᴏᴅᴛʜɪʀsᴛʏ, ᴠɪᴏʟᴇɴᴛ, ᴋɪʟʟing machines, but in reality, more sharks are ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ each year by humans. So it’s the sharks who should be scared of us. We need sharks to survive. Without them, the fish will eat the smaller fish who help eat the ocean’s algae. Without them, the rays will eat all the scallops and there will be no more scallops for us and the rays. A lot of people like to ᴋɪʟʟ sharks just because they’re scary, but if we put aside our fear, hatred, and neglect, then we will see how important sharks really are to us and our world.
Here are 4 main reasons why we should protect them:
1. Humans ᴋɪʟʟ More Sharks Than Shark ᴋɪʟʟ Humans. Sharks ᴋɪʟʟ an average of 80 humans a year. Humans ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ over 100 million sharks a year and an average of 1 to 2 sharks are ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ very second. Approximately 11,500 sharks are ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ each hour and an average of 200 are ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ in 1 minute! Also, sharks only ᴋɪʟʟ humans because they think they are fish or other types of prey. They spit the humans out after realizing they are not what they thought they were.
Every year, the finds of between 26 and 73 million sharks are traded in markets around the world. Far more are likely ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ at sea, though we will never know just how many. The ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛs we pose are many: by-catch, nets,… That’s why even shark encounter survivors have started speaking up in defense of sharks.
2. Sharks have six highly refined senses: smell, hearing, touch, taste, sight, and electromagnetism. These finely honed senses, along with a sleek, torpedo-shaped body, make most sharks highly sᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ ʜᴜɴᴛers. They often serve as top predators—keeping populations of prey species in check. Removing them in large numbers can have ripple effects that throw entire ecosystems out of balance.
3. While shark encounters do occur, they are actually extremely rare—despite the extensive media coverage they usually receive. In fact, your chances of being the victim of an unprovoked shark encounter are lower than your chances of being sᴛʀᴜᴄᴋ by lightning, ɪɴᴊᴜʀed in a ʜᴜɴᴛing ᴀᴄᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴛ, or even ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋed by a domestic dog. Even though the odds are in your favor, sharks are wild animals that must be respected when encountered. (Note we used the term “shark encounter” instead of “shark ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ.” That’s because usually, the sharks aren’t trying to ʜᴜʀᴛ people, they are just curious.)
4. Sharks have a long and impressive lineage. Ancient sharks were cruising the ocean 400 million years ago—long before dinosaurs roamed on land. Now-ᴇxᴛɪɴᴄᴛ ancestors of the great white like the Megalodon evolved more than 20 million years ago. Meet some of the other imposing top predators from ages past.