People Need Sharks — and Sharks Need Our Help

Whether you’re one of millions of fans tuning in to Shark Week, or one of millions of people who fear the apex predator, you benefit from sharks every day.

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      EditImage Description: Shark in Tuamotu, French Polynesia

      It’s true! People need sharks, and if they disappeared, we would all be in deep trouble. Here’s why:

      • Sharks support healthy fisheries that provide people with food and jobs. They’re essential to the balance of marine ecosystems and prevent overpopulation of other species.
      • Both loved and feared, sharks boost local economies through ecotourism. Shark diving, swimming and viewing generate around $US 314 million a year, making sharks more valuable alive than hunted.
      • Just like trees, sharks can store carbon in their bodies, keeping the greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere.
      • Scientific study of sharks and their DNA has led to medical breakthroughs and treatments for viruses, cystic fibrosis and some forms of cancer.
      • Shark anatomy — from its skin and tail to its speed — inspires smart design for products such as watercraft, cars and water turbines.

      Despite all of these benefits to people, sharks continue to face a number of threats from humans. Overfishing and unsustainable practices — like shark finning — account for the loss of around 100 million sharks every year. And the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists over 60 shark species as threatened.

      So this Shark Week, tell your friends and online communities that people need sharks — and sharks need our help.

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      EditCarousel title: Sharks Matter! Celebrate Shark Week with Amazing Videos
      EditCarousel description: You know what's scarier than sharks in the ocean? Sharks not in the ocean. That's because people depend on sharks for a lot — food, jobs, even medical breakthroughs. This Shark Week, SHARKS MATTER!
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      EditCarousel section title:CI’s Solutions[Optional]
      EditText title:Protecting Sharks
      EditText:The ecological importance of sharks is well understood. For reefs to remain productive, they need sharks to keep fish populations in check. Healthy reefs and healthy shark populations help foster a healthy ocean that can benefit people who depend on seafood for food and livelihoods. To protect sharks and the important role they play, Conservation International is working around the world to establish protected areas and inform communities and national leaders.
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      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_81627877.jpg
      EditImage Alt Text:© Conservation International/photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
      EditCaption Title:Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape
      EditCaption Description:In Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, a collaborative shark-tagging project between CI and partner organizations collects data on the migratory sharks that frequently cross borders. The data will provide decision-makers with accurate information about where sharks live and how they travel to ensure effective conservation strategies.
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      EditLink Text:Read More


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      EditImage Alt Text:© Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock
      EditCaption Title:Indonesia
      EditCaption Description:With CI’s support, the government of West Papua’s Raja Ampat declared all fishing and sales of sharks and rays illegal in 2013. Following suit, Indonesia banned the capture of manta rays in 2014, creating the world’s largest manta sanctuary.
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      EditLink Text:Read More
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      EditImage Alt Text:© Robin Moore/iLCP
      EditCaption Title:Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape
      EditCaption Description:CI is working to provide information on the status of migratory species, including whale sharks and endangered sharks and rays for determining policy and management action. CI, along with Save Sharks Network Philippines and other local partners, successfully petitioned Philippine Airlines to stop shipping shark fins.
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      EditImage Alt Text:© Shawn Heinrichs
      EditCaption Title:Coral Triangle
      EditCaption Description:CI is working to protect threatened shark species, and we have been working on nation-wide shark finning bans in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Our work in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands educates and empowers communities about the life cycles of marine life and equips them to make sustainable management decisions.
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      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_13141220.jpg
      EditImage Alt Text:© Keith A. Ellenbogen
      EditCaption Title:Phoenix Island Protected Area
      EditCaption Description:A joint effort by the Government of Kiribati, CI and the New England Aquarium, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area has harbored a 408,250-square-kilometer shark sanctuary since its creation in 2010. A ban on commercial tuna fishing in 2015 will also remove the bycatch threat to sharks.
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      Edit Section Heading:Conservation Tools: Radar System Could Be Instrumental in Protecting Sharks
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      Edit Image Alt Text: Hammerhead sharks around Cocos Island, Ecuador
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      The only sounds are those of seabirds, the wind and the Pacific Ocean striking the ship. On the horizon is the island for which they have been searching the past few days. Its 1795, and explorer George Vancouver describes what he sees upon his arrival to Cocos Island:

      “[sharks] assembled in the bay in very large shoals, constantly attending on our boats in all their motions […]” (excerpted from Callum Roberts’ 2007 book “The Unnatural History of the Sea”) — Read more »

      Read all of our blogs about sharks »

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      EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
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      EditCall to Action Title:Choose sustainable seafood
      EditCall to Action Description:You can help keep fish in the ocean by eating only seafood that’s been sustainably sourced.
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      EditNewsletter Title:Keep in touch
      EditNewsletter Message:Get updates on CI’s efforts to stop shark finning — and the rest of our conservation work — delivered to your inbox.
      EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Title:Thank you for joining
      EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Text:We can't protect the planet without your support​
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      EditDonate Title:Donate
      EditDonate Message:​​​Donate to CI to help protect sharks and their habitats — and all the parts of nature we can’t live without.
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