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Welcome to Save Our Sharks.

Save Our Sharks is a project initiated by Sarah Geron, with the intention of raising awareness about the threats faced by sharks today all over the world.

Sharks face many serious threats. ‘Finning’, where a live shark’s fins are cut off and then the body is thrown back into the sea to die, is one horrible example. All together though, it has been estimated that around 100 million sharks are killed each year, which means about 11.000 per hour! Besides the impact on numbers of sharks of this incredible killing, the effects on the bigger marine environment of this reduction of key species are enormous.

Our goal is to raise awareness and stimulate discussion. We operate with the approval of the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOS), who are dedicated to improving the health of the oceans and all of their creatures.

Sarah is also involved with SOS and has coordinated the team working on this project from among SOS members and scientists.

“We are driving a species that inhabited the Earth before us to extinction. Sharks are not our enemy and they never were, but now we have become theirs. Let’s make a change and help these creatures that are so vital to our ecosystem. They have always respected us so let’s show a little respect to them.”

-Sarah Geron

The situation

The situation with sharks right now is very serious. In 2013, the journal Marine Policy estimated that we are killing over 11.000 sharks per hour around the world. 11.000 sharks per hour means about 100.000.000 per year, but the journal also said that the actual numbers could be almost three times as many as that.

It’s hard to understand what numbers like that really mean sometimes. Think of it this way. Killing 11.000 sharks per hour is more or less like killing all the people in Venice, Italy–over and over, every day!

If we continue at this rate, soon there will be no sharks left. Since sharks are essential species in marine ecosystems, the loss of sharks affects the entire health of the oceans.

In addition to reducing the numbers of sharks killed around the world, our false ideas of sharks as dangerous, aggressive creatures who are a threat to humans must also change. This must be done through education, and also by giving people more realistic images of sharks in movies and the media.

The results of unrealistic images can be terrible. It is interesting and sad that after the movie Jaws came out in 1975, people suddenly saw sharks as terrifying and deadly in ways that they had not done before. But not just that. According to Charles Choi, they also saw them as creatures that hate people, hold grudges against them, and plan revenge against them like the imaginary shark in the movie did.

This is totally ridiculous and completely false, but it encouraged people to think of sharks as enemies of ours, not as fellow creatures who share the planet, and hunting sharks for sport and out of fear increased hugely after the movie came out. It was is if killing sharks didn’t matter because people believed that sharks hated and threatened us.

In fact, according to one source, since Jaws came out in 1975, “populations of many species of sharks have dropped by 50 percent and some have fallen by as much as 90 percent” along the east coast of the USA.

People should understand that the risks of being killed by a shark are amazingly low. This table shows the level of risk of being killed by a shark compared to some other risks:

 

DISEASE AND ACCIDENTAL CAUSES OF DEATHS ANNUAL DEATHS DEATH RISK DURING ONE’S LIFETIME
Heart disease 652,486 1 in 5
Cancer 553,888 1 in 7
Stroke 150,074 1 in 24
Hospital Infections 99,000 1 in 38
Flu 59,664 1 in 63
Car accidents 44,757 1 in 84
Suicide 31,484 1 in 119
Accidental poisoning 19,456 1 in 193
MRSA (resistant bacteria) 19,000 1 in 197
Falls 17,229 1 in 218
Drowning 3,306 1 in 1,134
Bike accident 762 1 in 4,919
Air/space accident 742 1 in 5,051
Excessive cold 620 1 in 6,045
Sun/heat exposure 273 1 in 13,729
Lightning 47 1 in 79,746
Train crash 24 1 in 156,169
Fireworks 11 1 in 340,733
Shark attack 1 1 in 3,748,067

(Source: Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida)

In fact, according to the same source, people in the USA have a lower chance of being killed by a shark than they do of being killed by an alligator, a bear, or even by a dog!

If things are really going to change, we have to correct our wrong perception of sharks at the same time that we try to raise awareness of the vital importance of preserving and respecting them.

 

Our team

Meet our team!

Sarah Geron:

Sarah Geron created this project after learning that Italy, the country where she was born, was heavily involved in the demand for shortfin mako sharks, which are under serious threat.

Sarah is a school student who has been involved with marine conservation through the Save Our Seas foundation her whole life. She started scuba diving at the age of eight, and she has been fascinated by, and concerned about, the other world that exists on our Earth since then. She has been a certified PADI diver since the age of 11, and has been taught about the sea and its ecosystems by Dr Chris Clarke, and through direct experience with Save Our Seas.

Sarah coordinates and manages this project with the help of the rest of the team.

John Gardener:

John is an educator based in London. He is deeply sensitive about the impact humans have on the environment, and interested in ways of managing the balance between human needs and the health of the planet. As a scuba diver, he has a particular interest in the health of the oceans. His educational background includes the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University in the USA, as well as Oxford and Cambridge universities in the UK.

Dr. Chris Clarke:

Dr. Chris Clarke became passionate about the marine environment in his early teens, which drove him to become a certified diver at the age of 14. He secured an honours degree in Oceanography at Southampton University and become a marine research scientist for London University. During his time at University he became a Yacht Master, First Class Diver, Master Scuba Diver and Dive Instructor for BSAC, PADI and TDI.

In 1995 Dr. Clarke joined a private diving operation in the Red Sea to research and coordinate global diving expeditions. It was during these expeditions that Dr. Clarke helped establish the Save Our Seas Foundation, becoming the Executive Director in 2003. After 7 years as Director he established over 150 Marine projects in 40 countries, and produced numerous High Definition documentaries and helped publish over 50 educational books. In 2010 Dr. Clarke left SOSF to focus on shark research and the Founders diving operations. In 2014 he received a PhD for his cutting edge work on shark migration and behavior contributing to the design of sustainable marine protected areas. He continues to work along side leading scientists to create and develop a managed marine protected area in the Indian Ocean. He is proud to be involved with Save Our Sharks to highlight the many threats facing sharks internationally and what everyone can do to help.

Dr. James Lea:

James developed his fascination for sharks at a young age and it sparked his ambition to explore the oceans. He has been scuba diving for almost 20 years in search of shark encounters and has been humbled to share the waters with numerous shark species. Keen to learn as much as he could about their behaviour and ecology, James volunteered as a shark researcher at the Bimini Biological Field Station, after gaining a first-class honours degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford. In Bimini James cut his teeth catching, tagging and tracking sharks, and working with them so closely consolidated his passion and further motivated him to fight for shark conservation.

James then moved to work for the Founder of the Save Our Seas Foundation as a research officer, managing a variety of shark research projects around the world. James’ primary focus is a comprehensive tagging programme tracking almost 200 sharks of 7 different species in Seychelles, aiming to determine the factors driving their movement behaviour and use this to inform effective conservation strategies. James’ research has helped contribute to the design of marine protected areas and revealed previously unknown open ocean migrations of tiger and bull sharks, highlighting the challenge of managing shark populations that span ocean basins. James has completed a PhD in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth and is now part of the Evolutionary Ecology Group at the University of Cambridge. He is also a keen, prize-winning amateur photographer. James fully realises the importance of actively promoting awareness of shark conservation issues, so he is particularly excited to be part of the Save Our Sharks team to help ensure that we can live alongside sharks for generations to come.

Byron Dilkes:

Byron Dilkes is a multiple international-award-winning underwater photographer. Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, Byron has been working in the photography industry since the age of 15 and has contributed images and articles to a number of South African and international magazines and websites. While working part-time as an adventure and extreme sports photographer, Byron took his love for the ocean to the next level by studying Microbiology and Marine Biology at the University of Cape Town. After completing his Bsc Hons in Marine Science, Byron combined his academic background with his love for documenting the natural world, and joined a private dive operation based around producing high-end photo and video productions as well as shark research. Byron has been involved in the Save Our Seas Seychelles shark research program and is a regular contributor to the Save Our Seas Foundation website and magazines.

Byron currently manages the media department of a private dive operation and uses this as a platform to shed light on marine environmental issues by documenting and sharing underwater scenes that many would otherwise never get to see.

 

Blog

Thanks for visiting our site! What we want most of all is to encourage you and everyone else to think about one of the world’s most misunderstood creatures.

Let’s face it, to most people sharks are terrifying because of the way movies, books and popular culture have portrayed them. In fact they almost seem like enemies to humans. Children learn to fear them completely irrationally, and the cycle of confusion continues.

We want to push back. Sharks play an irreplaceable role in the ocean environment, but they have never been as threatened as they are today. By stimulating discussion and raising awareness, we want to correct the misunderstandings and spread the word about the importance of sharks.

We hope you will join us!

 

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