It’s that time of year when sharks are top of mind – people flock to seashores, and Shark Week takes over our TVs. Our affiliated partner, the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, will celebrate accordingly with its second annual Shark Day this Saturday, June 25, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Special programs about sharks, activities and giveaways are included with aquarium admission. Aquarists will reveal all in special chats at the shark and stingray tanks. And you can watch a shark feeding, touch shark-related biofacts, feed stingrays, score a pack of baseball cards featuring resident sharks, and more. Most importantly, learn why sharks are so important to ocean ecosystems, and what you can do to protect them.
Unfortunately, of the shark species on which scientists have been able to collect sufficient data, nearly 50% are at serious risk . We know what you’re thinking – aren’t sharks some of the most savage sea-dwellers? What could possibly threaten them?
The answer is closer than you think – it’s us. Humans are the No. 1 threat to sharks and rays living in the wild. While some sharks are hunted intentionally, much of the damage is caused simply by humans invading the ocean irresponsibly. There is some good news; if we are the problem, we can also be the solution.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to help save sharks and other species that call the ocean home is to eat sustainable seafood. Some fishermen use non-selective nets that catch just about anything in their way, including sharks. Certain nets also can drag on the ocean floor and cause serious damage to underwater habitats. Other times, too many of one species is pulled from the ocean at one time, and not enough are left in the wild to reproduce and sustain a healthy population.
Seafood harvested sustainably means it is acquired with the health of the ocean in mind. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch is an excellent resource to check before purchasing or eating seafood – check the website, or download the app.
As you explore the underwater world and experience sharks and rays firsthand on Shark Day, remember that our fish friends need your help. Make a pledge at our Shark Day conservation station to only eat sustainable seafood. As we say at the Zoo and Children’s Aquarium, “If it’s not sustainable, we won’t bite!”