Put your fins together, folks because your hard work is paying off!
A recent study performed at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS) has revealed some shocking, yet very positive findings. Based on studies performed by a team of graduate students, shark populations appear to be rising once again despite a 30-year period of treacherously low population levels among a majority of shark species. The cause of the decreasing shark populations was directly correlated to overfishing, a huge market for shark finning, as well as an overall lack of interest for a population management plan.
It seems like anytime you hear about sharks or marine life in general, the consensus is completely negative. From new government policies to seeing your neighbor wrangle in a “monster” on their social media page, it appears that the fight for ocean conservation resembles trying to plug a hole in a boat with a piece of newspaper. This creates a range of emotions. For some people, the apathy grows because tackling such an issue is “not their problem” or seems incredibly futile. However, not everyone feels like this issue is too big for them, and the graduate students who performed the shark population study have proven this.
Based on the graduate students’ findings, the population growth is considered to be slow but overwhelmingly steady. One of the most difficult aspects of studies similar to this one is that conservation efforts take time for the results to appear. Sharks are creatures that develop at a very slow pace and produce few offspring at very low rates. Cassidy Peterson, a graduate student in the study, stated, “It’s been a story of all of these big shark declines in abundance into the 1990s and because they’re so slow-growing and slow-reproducing, the story sort of was that they weren’t going to increase in abundance anytime soon.” Overall, it is very clear that shark protection awareness and the implementation of a management plan is producing positive results.
Although shark populations are slightly growing, the work isn’t close to being done so we must keep pushing for the preservation of our toothy-friends! If you’re wondering how someone like yourself can get involved with the cause, it’s a lot easier than you’d think. From volunteering with your local beach clean up group to supporting sustainable seafood, even you can make a difference. The tide is flowing in the right direction so don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard.
Let us know below how you are getting involved to save our seas! Make sure to like/ follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date about ocean conservation and new products to hit our store!
- Cody Carter, Brand Ambassador
About the Author:
Cody graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and international business. Soon after, he decided to aim his education and background in a direction that he is truly passionate about. Cody’s fervor for marine conservation and sustainability sparked from growing up in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida where he enjoyed surfing, participating in local beach cleanups, as well as writing about his favorite marine life. Cody is very grateful to be a part of the Conversation Ocean team, and he is eager to work alongside some bright minds to spread awareness about the importance of ocean conservation!