Shark Conservation and Ecosystem Preservation: a Call to Action

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Updated: Aug 09, 2023
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The Human Impact on Sharks

The Ocean makes up seventy percent of the earth. Thousands of beautiful and unique creatures inhabit the Big Blue. Although humans are not one of the many natural inhabitants, they still manage to intervene in the inner workings of the complex ecosystems that make up our oceans. One of the species that are greatly impacted by human intervention is the shark. Sharks play a key role in each Ocean’s ecosystem, as they are at the top of the food chain and help with many things, including population control.

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Sharks are harmed by humans in many forms, including the removal of shark fins, which causes the sharks to die, and just general shark fishing. Sharks are a delicate and beautiful species that very much rely on their natural environment to be safe and secure for them to live, and they are now considered an endangered species solely because of human intervention. There are some programs and organizations out there that are attempting to raise awareness about shark fishing and the removal of shark fins, which causes the sharks to die, and just general shark fishing, but not enough is being done. It is time to raise awareness and take a stand to protect sharks and the ocean ecosystem as a whole.

The Cruel Trade of Shark Fins

Sharks, they are easily killed off because of their fins. Great white shark fins are perfect money for these fishermen. Great white shark fins are used in a popular dish called “shark fin soup” It is popular in Chinese culture because it’s a dish of the upper class. Shark fins have been popular since the Song Dynasty in China, and it continues to go on in the culture. The reason fisherman tends to go for shark fins is because they sell “for as much as $500 a pound ($1,100 a kilogram)”. (Fairclough,1). After the shark fin is taken, which is only five percent of a shark’s weight, they throw the rest of the shark back into the water alive, and they do not die peacefully. These sharks are unable to swim correctly and suffer from extreme blood loss. Not being able to swim correctly causes much harm to the shark because they need to force water through their gills for oxygen. The sharks don’t suffocate or die from blood loss in a day; the sharks take days to die from having their fins cut off.

They either die from suffocation or from blood loss. These sharks must suffer at what cause? For only five percent of them to be used and not even put out of their misery but having to suffer being alive and dealing with such pain. It’s not just a hundred or thousands of sharks, but one hundred million sharks are having this happen to them each year. The reason these sharks cannot reproduce fast enough for them to become extinct is because sharks do not have a high reproduction rate. The shark’s pregnancy cycle is Twelve to eighteen months. The sharks can only carry 2 to 10 pups. Not only that but sharks can only live up to thirty years old, and it does not help that they are getting killed before their short life span. With all this suffering and the extinction of sharks because of shark finning, people should stop.

Sharks: Guardians of Marine Ecosystems

Sharks dying off affects the ecosystem greatly. Sharks are on top of the food chain in the Ocean, which means they eat the fish. Sharks don’t eat just any fish. They eat the sick and weaker fish which keeps the Ocean healthier. If sharks become extinct, then the sick fish will stay alive and continue to spread diseases to the other fish. These diseases will kill off fish till there are no more. Sharks would not only become extinct but the whole marine ecosystem. Also, if the weaker fish continue to live, they will reproduce a slower genetic makeup of fish which will only ruin the future marine ecosystem. The sharks continue to make sure that all the ocean ecosystems do not overpopulate. Sharks clear up different ecosystems to keep them in order and keep them safe. The shark scares off other fishes of the ecosystem to not ruin other fish’s ecosystems. Their intimidation helps the Ocean. If sharks become extinct, the marine ecosystem will lose its balance. Sharks becoming extinct will ruin the coral reef by predatory fish, such as groupers, increase in abundance and feed on the herbivores. With fewer herbivores, macroalgae expand, and coral can no longer compete, shifting the ecosystem to one of algae dominance and affecting the survival of the reef system. This could ruin many other things, like causing “out-of-control algae or the extinction of smaller animals such as scallops that rely on sharks to eat their predators” (Domenico,1). Sharks’ extinction will ruin the whole marine ecosystem and the food chain.

Conservation Efforts and The Road Ahead

With all this information, what exactly is being done to help these sharks? Luckily there are many shark and marine conservation groups that are educating and warning the public about what is happening to these sharks. Conservation groups such as shark stewards, Wildaid, wildlife conservation society, and coral reef alliance. These conservation groups are “performing needed research, they compile valuable data to aid in better decision-making while advocating for pro-shark legislation and policies. In addition, “they educate the public on sharks and marine ecosystems” (McCrea,1). With people educated on sharks, they will not want shark fin soup or buy shark fins. If people are not buying shark fins, then the demand for them will go down, and they will have too much supply, which will cause fish markets to not buy from fishermen. Which will cause fishermen to not go shark finning. Also, Groups like the Pew Charitable Trusts fund and employ lobbyists who persuade lawmakers to support legislation that creates sanctions against shark fishing, provide enforcement of protective laws, and offer incentives to protect sharks. The help of These laws and legislations can help these sharks from not being frequently shark fin. Things everyday humans can do to help sharks from becoming extinct is not using any shark products. With many products, “shark cartilage and oils are found in a range of products from beauty items to health nutrition” (Rogers,1). There is still much to be done to help the sharks from becoming extinct.

In conclusion, sharks are endangered and are soon becoming extinct. Despite all the conservation and things humans can do, sharks will continue to be killed. Humans will continue to eat shark finned soup and use shark products. The sharks need real help. Laws and legislation to completely not allow sharks to be killed. Sharks kill one human yearly, while humans kill one hundred million sharks yearly. Humans are the reason for extinction. Sharks will become extinct if something does not happen now.


  1. Fairclough, G. (Year). Shark fin trade and the demand for shark fin soup.

  2. Domenico, M. (Year). Ecological impact of shark extinction on marine ecosystems. 

  3. McCrea, S. (Year). Role of conservation groups in shark protection and education.

  4. Rogers, L. (Year). Hidden shark products in everyday items and their impact. 

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Shark Conservation and Ecosystem Preservation: A Call to Action. (2023, Aug 09). Retrieved from