1. Know That It’s Not About Fear, It’s About Understanding
One of the best ways to help sharks is to educate yourself so that you can educate others. With social media, you have an audience of peers that you can share anything that you want with. Why not share a story, images, videos, etc. to help sharks?
(Screen grab of Lifeguard Szilard Janko rescuing a Nurse Shark that was tangled in a fishing line in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. The shark had a hook through its mouth with fishing line wrapped around the reef.)
If you happen to catch a shark while fishing, knowing how to properly de-hook and release them can save their lives. Here is an full guide from save-fish.com: Releasing/Dehooking Larger Fish Such as Sharks
3. Do Not Buy Products That Contain Sharks
One of the most recognizable items to avoid that are produced from sharks is shark fin soup. Aside from avoiding shark meat and fin consumption, there are other products that are produced with sharks that should be avoided. Check the contents of any of these common products:
- Lotions and Moisturizers
- Medicinal Creams
- Lipstick and Lip Balms
- Anti-Aging Face Creams
- Eye Makeup
- Any beauty product that contains Squalene
- Any skin/leather products made from Shagreen
- Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements
- Shark Souvenirs (if it is not a fossil, do not buy it)
- Pet products, mainly food, chews and supplements
4. Support These and Save Money
Support companies that manufacture products that use less packaging, do not harm the environment, support conservation efforts and give back.
5. Know Where Your Seafood Comes From
Commerical fishing can negatively impact sharks by reducing their food sources in certain areas and they are often killed as a byproduct. The Monterey Bay Aquarium SeaFood Watch program offers a section on their SeaFoodWatch.org website called What Consumers Can Do.
Check out each of the links on their site to learn more about making ocean-friendly choices when you eat seafood and be sure to download their app so that you have the information readily available to you where ever you go.
6. Support Shark Conservation Groups
Support conservation groups that produce educational content, are actively doing work themselves to save sharks, organize beach cleanups, etc. Make sure that you do your research and that the groups that you choose to support are actively doing things to help conserve sharks, not just collecting money.
7. Sign Petitions
Check with your favorite shark conservation group to see if there are any petitions that you can sign to help conserve sharks. You can also check out petition sites like Change.org and ThePetitionSite.com for any currently active shark conservation related petitions that need signatures.
8. Report Abuse
If you see anyone abusing sharks and or illegally hunting them, be sure to document it and call your local authorities. Post the pictures and video footage on the local fish and wildlife pages and share to get them famous for the wrong reason. Below is the story of one Nurse Shark that was abused and what he had to go through in order to recover.
9. Support Positive Shark Programs
There are quite a few shark interactive programs that are available to check out and learn even more about sharks. Here is one that we visited a few times in Islamorada, Florida:
Be sure to do your research and make sure that the sharks are treated properly.
10. Beach and Waterway Cleanups
There are tons of cleans up happening all over the world! They are a great way to get outside, get some exercise and make some new like-minded friends. To find a local clean up simply Google beach clean up or waterway clean up to join one near you. Or you could organized your own clean up. The Ocean Conservancy has a guide to help you organize a clean up in your area on there website: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/start-a-cleanup/
It’s amazing what just one person can do when it comes to cleaning up trash! From a kayak I personally cleaned up over 105 lbs of trash in my local waterway. Think about how much trash you could clean up if you picked up just 10 pieces each time you were out on the water or at the beach. Removing trash from waterways and the beach helps all marine life including sharks. It’s something you can do right now, it’s great exercise and it makes a huge difference! Check out the type of trash that I found in my local waterway in the video below.
If you found this list to be helpful, be sure to share it. 🙂