9 Reasons Why We Need Sharks

Sharks are good. In fact, life in the oceans and even on earth would not be nearly so productive if it weren’t for sharks.

Shark attacks generate sensational headlines and provoke the irrational urge to†kill as many sharks as possible. But in fact, there are on average only around 70 shark attacks on humans every year, and of those, only 10 people are killed. By comparison, somewhere between 20 and 30†million sharks are being killed by people every year, a number that cannot be sustained if we want to prevent sharks from going extinct. It is absolutely critical to come to the defense of sharks, which is easier if we understand why we need sharks in the first place. Here are 9 good reasons.

1) Sharks are magnificent animals.
They have inhabited Earth for over 450 million years. They are beautiful, complex, amazing creatures that inspire awe and stoke our imagination. The world would be a less remarkable place if there were no sharks.

2) Sharks keep other marine animals in check.
As†the “apex predators” of the oceans, they have no natural predators. They eat at the top of the marine food chain, which means that they consume the old, sick or slower fish in a population, keeping the entire population healthier.

3) Sharks help protect coral reefs.
Studies in Belize have shown coral reefs fall into extreme decline when sharks there are overfished: killing so many sharks leads to a spike in the grouper population. More grouper eat the parrotfish, which normally keep the coral algae-free. Without the parrotfish, the coral dies.

4) Sharks help maintain†our food supply.
For example, reports SeaShepherd.org, falling shark populations may have contributed to the†destruction of the shellfish industry in waters off the mid-Atlantic states due to the unchecked population growth of cow-nose rays, whose mainstay is scallops.

5) Sharks play a role in mitigating climate change.
The “domino” effect described aboveówhere loss of sharks leads all the way down to the loss of coral reefsócould threaten the health of oceans worldwide. The oceans provide a third of our world with food, reports SharkAngel.org. They produce more oxygen than all the rain forests combined. They remove half of the atmosphere’s manmade carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases that causes climate change. They also help control Earth’s temperature and weather.

6) Sharks may positively†influence†the ability of other sea creatures to reproduce.
Weather.com reports that , even though they are effective predators, sharks may actually lead to a greater abundance of fish in the waters where they swim. They compare sharks to the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Some people worried that the wolves would kill everything in their paths. Instead, there’s been an explosion of biodiversity, which has affected not just elk and beavers, but aspen trees and insects.

7) Sharks help keep beds of sea grass healthy.
The presence of sharks prevents animals that eat sea grass from overgrazing. Sharksavers.org notes that in Hawaii, where turtles graze on sea grass, tiger sharks prey on the turtles. Where†the sharks†aren’t present, the turtles overgraze, ultimately destroying the habitat.

8) Sharks are actually good for the local economy.
Tourists pay millions of dollars every year to see sharksóand not just in aquariums. In Palau, a popular diving destination, it’s estimated that each reef shark brings in about $179,000 in tourism revenue annually, or about $1.9 million during its lifetime.

9) Just because.
Like all animals, sharks have an intrinsic value that makes them worthy of existence. Let’s appreciate and respect these evolutionary marvels, not eradicate them.

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256 comments

Christine Jones
Christine J2 years ago

Good stuff. Our state government tried to bring in a shark killing programme not too long ago and I'm happy to say that our beaches were flooded with people protesting against it. Fishers, families, swimmers, conservationists, surfers, even shark attack survivors, and all sorts of everyday people. People power can never be under-estimated.

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cvete cvete
cvete cvete3 years ago

great article

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Dominika Rychlik
Dominika Rychlik3 years ago

Thanks for the great article.

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Debbie Hartman
DEBORAH Hartman3 years ago

interesting thanks for the info

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Marija Mohoric
Marija M3 years ago

thanks

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Elfje Muse
Elfje Muse3 years ago

Yes sharks are good unlike mankind

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Ilona V.
Ilona V3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.
The only useless beings on earth - are the humans...

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Adrienne L.
Adrienne L3 years ago

Thanks

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Margaret M. F.
Marge F3 years ago

Informative. Thank you for posting.

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