How to Help Sharks and Other Marine Life
Everyone can help save sharks! It can be as simple as living an ocean-friendly life!
Ways to Live a More Ocean-Friendly Life
- 1. Say "No" to Single-Use Plastic
- 2. Choose Sustainable Seafood
- 3. Be Beach-Friendly
- 4. Become a Citizen Scientist
- 5. Swim with Sharks
- 6. Learn More About Sharks
- 7. Conclusion
1. Say "No" to Single-Use Plastic
Plastic litter often ends up in the sea. Sea animals mistake it for food or get entangled in it.
To make things worse, plastic takes a long time to break down:
- Monofilament fishing line: 600 years
- Plastic beverage bottle: 450 years
- Foam plastic cup: 50 years
- Plastic bag: 20 years
- Cigarette filter: 10 years
Over time, plastic will break into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics, which may never fully degrade in marine environments. Because they are so small, wildlife can ingest microplastics for food or by accident. Humans are ingesting microplastics too. Microplastics have already been found in seafood, tap and bottled water, sea salt, and other products we eat or drink.1
Here are some example ideas to reduce your plastic waste. (Photos contain products of some of our supporters. We are not paid for this, we are simply supporting ocean-friendly small businesses that we love.)
2. Choose Sustainable Seafood
Most importantly for sharks, celebrate Chinese New Year and weddings in the fin-free style! Say "No" to shark fin soup!
Christina chooses to not eat seafood at all. If you choose to eat seafood, try to learn about where and how it was caught to decide if it's sustainable.
General guidelines for picking seafood:
- Choose local catch over imported catch (lower carbon footprint from transport)
- Choose certified seafood over unknown source
- Choose fish at the bottom of the food chain
- Farmed fish: Choose plant-based feed (farmed fish are often fed smaller fish which are caught from the ocean, reducing the benefit of farming)
- Fish caught in the wild: Choose common species
- Body color: Choose silvery fish over colorful fish (many reef fish contain toxins)
There is no one-size-fits-all global guideline for sustainable seafood. The best way to approach is to find your local seafood guide. We’ve compiled a few for you here:
This app identifies fish using Ai and gives you its conservation status (in Mandarin only): Fish Checker App
Sustainable seafood certification is a good indication of sustainability when purchasing seafood. Here are some organizations and their criteria for sustainable seafood:
3. Be Beach-Friendly
Ways to save sharks and the ocean when visiting the beach:
- Don’t pick up, touch, or feed wild animals, or take them home as pets.
- Don’t buy sea life products such as jewelry or other products made of wild animals or their parts. "When the buying stops, the killing can, too."
- Bring your trash home, and pick up plastic trash if you can. "Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but bubbles!"
- Don’t use shower products at the beach. Often there is no water filtration system at outdoor showers, the chemicals will go directly to the ocean. If so, just rinse off the sand and shower at home, or use eco-friendly products.
- Use reef safe sunscreen:
- Choose sunscreen with mineral filters such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide
- Avoid products with oxybenzone and octinoxate
- You can also avoid using sunscreen by wearing a hat and rashguard
4. Become a Citizen Scientist
Report your shark sighting to scientists to help build a bigger database. The more data scientists can work with, the more we can learn about sharks. This also means we can better protect them! When you see a shark, try to observe carefully and remember as much detail as you can!
5. Swim with Sharks
Your actions and tourism money show local people and government officials that sharks are more valuable alive than dead!
In the Philippines, fishermen used to fish whale sharks for meat, but now they take tourists out to see them! There are also a lot of baby sharks hiding under coral, so take a peek next time you go diving or snorkeling! When you see a whale shark, remember to take a photo of its left pectoral fin. Those spots are unique and it will help scientists figure out which individual it is. You can receive an email every time your shark is sighted again! Visit Wildbook to learn more!
You can see many kinds of sharks in South Africa, such as great white sharks, six-gill cow sharks, shy sharks, blacktip sharks, shortfin mako sharks, sand tiger sharks, bull sharks and more!
In the Red Sea in Egypt you can often see hammerhead sharks and sometimes oceanic whitetip sharks!
Fiji is known for tiger shark diving. You can dive with tiger sharks at Beqa Island.
You can see lots of sharks on the Shark Scramble dive in Tateyama, Japan.
6. Learn More About Sharks
Increase your knowledge about sharks by visiting our blog!
Helping to save sharks isn't as difficult as you think. We can all do our part to make the ocean a cleaner, safer place for sharks and other marine animals. Choose something you can do and start saving sharks TODAY!