Animal Friends Blog
It’s not a complicated equation. We all know that if we spend more than we earn, things are going to go badly. You can get away with it for a while but ultimately, if you make a habit of it, then at some point you’ll get into trouble.
This problem’s at the heart of overfishing. Keep taking out more than what’s going in and, sooner or later… CRASH. Think of the sea as a savings account. We inherited a lump sum which, as the fish reproduce, pays interest. Withdraw some or all of that interest and your nest egg is safe. Take more and your savings start to shrink. When your savings shrink so does your interest. Do that again and again, year after year and, before you know it, there’s nothing left.
Over a quarter of sharks and rays are at risk of extinction
Sharks are particularly vulnerable to overfishing, they’re slow and thrifty at reproducing. They pay a low rate of “interest”, so they should be fished with caution. But they’re not. They’re being taken in high numbers and, for too many species, at a rate beyond their ability to replace themselves. The last comprehensive analysis by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species estimated that over a quarter of the 1000+ species of sharks and rays are at risk of extinction.
If we’re to avoid bankruptcy, we need to act fast. The Shark Trust is the UK charity that works globally to safeguard the future of sharks and rays. Transforming fisheries to sustainability is a core goal and the Trust works with a range of international partners to achieve positive change.
Through various projects and campaigns the Trust has been a leader for over 20 years in taking a sensible line on shark conservation and always placing science at the heart of decision-making. Our work cuts across governments, policymakers, industry and businesses. We seek to find constructive solutions and drive best practice wherever sharks and people meet.
Our No Limits? campaign targets an end to uncontrolled shark fisheries – in Europe and on the high seas. We’re determined that shark fisheries should implement science-based catch limits to prevent continued overfishing.
The world’s fastest shark is at risk
The plight of the Shortfin Mako – the world’s fastest shark – demonstrates the importance of this effort. This stunning shark has been heavily overfished in the Atlantic. In 2017 scientists estimated that, even if catches were cut to zero, North Atlantic Shortfin Makos would only have a 54% chance of recovery by 2040. Despite this dire prediction and the clear need for a prohibition, the species continues to be fished. Despite a red letter from the bank, the spending continues.
Shark conservation is making progress but we need to keep pushing. We’re committed to bringing as many people to the party as possible. Everyone can get involved and everyone can be a positive influence on the future of sharks.
Find out more about sharks and how you can get involved www.sharktrust.org
Five Ways to Do SomeFin for Sharks
1. Think about what you eat
Whether it’s a shark product or a prawn – if it comes from the sea then we all need to be making a noise about sustainability. If you can’t be satisfied that it’s sustainable then don’t eat it.
2. Be a citizen scientist
The Great Eggcase Hunt is a call to arms for beachcombers, dog walkers and strandline kickers to search for mermaid’s purses. You can find, identify and record these eggcases in our online recording centre or download the App for your smartphone.
3. Join the community
Become a member of the Shark Trust – for as little as £3 per month you can become part of the solution for sharks and keep in touch with shark conservation and science with our Shark Focus magazine.
4. Fundraise for sharks
Environmental and conservation causes need more funding to drive positive change. You can help by choosing to run, walk, skydive, bake or whatever. Every pound strengthens our cause.
5. Speak up for sharks
Whether you’re adding your name to a petition, sharing your love for sharks or challenging misleading sterotypes, your voice counts. Talk positively about sharks and about how we can all get involved in securing their future.
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