• Kira Lichtenfeld

Sharks Should Be Scared of Us

Are you afraid of sharks? You shouldn't be.

The odds of being attacked by a shark is one in 11.5 million. That compares with one in 500,000 for getting struck by lightning or one in 495,000 by getting hit by a bus.

As kids, we were often taught to be afraid of sharks, whether by movies like Jaws or news reports. Sharks, however, are beautiful creatures that rarely attack people. They are valuable to ocean ecosystems and help local economies.

Sharks are frequently the apex predator in marine ecosystems. At the top of the ecosystem, they help to maintain the populations of the species below them. They keep other species in check and create more biodiversity. As shark populations decline, the balance of the ecosystem is thrown off.

Shark diving is important economically, especially for Florida. Shark watchers spent more than $314 million globally in 2013, and this number is expected to rise to over $780 million in the next 20 years.

Source: Shark Research Institute

Humans kill more than 100 million sharks each year and shark finning accounts for about 73 million of those deaths. Shark finning is when people remove the fins of the shark and then discard the rest of the body into the ocean. These fins are mainly used to make shark fin soup, which is a delicacy in some Asian cultures. While this practice is illegal in the United States, people can still import shark fins from other countries. So even though the United States does not directly allow shark finning, we are still creating demand for shark fins.

You can help to prevent these senseless killings. The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act was introduced to Congress in 2019. The bill will make it illegal to buy, sell, or transport shark fins. The House of Representatives passed this bill, but it has not been voted on in the Senate yet. Tell your senators to pass this ban by clicking here.

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