Shark Awareness Day on July 14 celebrates the wondrous sea creatures that have had a bad rep for quite a while now. When you think of the dangers of the sea, sharks definitely make it on the list because of the way they are depicted in movies and cartoons. However, Shark Awareness Day is not a day to cry foul at said innocent fish, but instead, it is a day of crying foul FOR them. The strong and extremely resilient predators are, in fact, more scared of humans than the other way around. There’s a bigger chance of being struck by lightning than being killed or attacked by a shark. From being killed because humans are scared of them to being harvested for their meat and fins, sharks have made it on the list of endangered species, which is bad news for them as well as the environment.
History of Shark Awareness Day
Shark Awareness Day appears to have its origins in the U.S., but the day’s goals of raising awareness in favor of said sea creatures are universal. Sharks, like fish, date so far back in history that many scientists refer to them as ‘living fossils.’ In fact, sharks are older than trees and dinosaurs, with the latter having roamed the earth only 230 million years ago. Sharks, on the other hand, have been on the planet for more than 420 million years now. They have also survived five mass extinctions. They belong to the cartilaginous group of fish because most of their skeleton is made up of cartilage except for their teeth, which are hard, sharp, and strong to snag and break down their food. Their sleek body shapes aid in providing agility when swimming. Sharks also typically have five or six slits on their sides and pectoral fins that are not attached to their heads.
Over the decades, shark numbers have dwindled due to several reasons. People have been hunting them for their skin, meat, and fins all over the world. This overfishing has led to many shark organizations lobbying to make the shark meat trade illegal. Yet many fishing companies refuse to follow the laws and protocols, continuing to catch sharks for their personal gain. Moreover, the scary and dangerous image of sharks, created by pop culture, has led to many unnecessary killings of the fish. According to studies and research, the shark population has reduced by an exponential 71% since 1970. Such a situation is alarming because a reduced shark population can have grievous impacts on the environment. Sharks keep the ocean health in check by keeping the population of other sea inhabitants under control. For example, sharks prey on sea turtles, who eat seagrass that is important for carbon storage. If the sea turtle population increases, the carbon stores are threatened and, by extension, so is the environment.
Shark Awareness Day FAQs
What day is Shark Day?
Shark Awareness Day falls on July 14 every year.
Are sharks bulletproof?
Some species of sharks are bulletproof. For example, whale sharks’ skin can be very difficult to penetrate because their skin is six inches thick.
What are sharks afraid of?
Sharks, like any other creature, are afraid of anything that may pose a threat to them. This is why they will only attack if they feel that something is constantly threatening them. White sharks, for some reason, avoid orcas. For example, they will abandon any regions known to have orcas in them.
How to Observe Shark Awareness Day
Boycott shark products
Sharks are hunted for their meat, skin, and fins. Many places in the world offer special fin soups or products made out of shark leather. Boycott such places and encourage others to do so, too.
Spread awareness about the day by talking about it with others. Pop culture has done enough damage to sharks’ image. Now it’s time for you to join the force to undo the damage by spreading positivity about the fish.
Donate to organizations
Shark and environmental protection organizations need your help more than ever. They require funds and promotion, and you can help with that by donating and spreading the word.
5 Facts About Sharks That Will Blow Your Mind
Sharks lose 30,000 teeth
With seven rows of teeth, sharks lose approximately 30,000 teeth in their lifetime and this is why we can find an abundance of shark teeth on the ocean/seafloor.
Larger eyes for deeper ventures
Sharks that live on the deeper ends of the sea tend to have larger eyes to see better.
Teeth on the outside for movement
Sharks have teeth on the outside, too, that are called dermal denticles and these help them swim much faster.
Long gestation periods
Sharks can have extremely long gestation periods, some even lasting up to four years.
Amazing hearing abilities
Sharks have amazing hearing abilities as they are able to hear the slightest of movements up to one kilometer away.
Why Shark Awareness Day is Important
It’s a celebration of sharks
Sharks, like any other living beings on planet Earth, deserve their own space to live. Humans’ unobstructed pathway to destruction has led many of the world’s creatures either to extinction or put them on the endangered list. Sharks are one such fish species that deserve our help and voice for their protection and preservation.
It’s a celebration of survival
Sharks are known for strength, agility, stealth, and intelligence, but did you know that the sea creature is also famous for its amazing survival stories? It has survived many mass extinction events. It is also one of the oldest creatures that have survived to date.
It’s a celebration of the environment
Adding another attribute to the list, sharks are great environmentalists. As apex predators, sharks help regulate marine populations and diversity. Sharks also help maintain a healthy gene pool. Without them, the environment would take a turn for the worst.
Shark Awareness Day dates