Sharks, as we know, do not enjoy an excellent reputation: they are considered terrible predators which constitute a real danger for humans. Thanks also to the cinematographic world which has always presented them as the “bad guys” par excellence. The reality, however, is very different. THE There are very few shark species dangerous to humans and, conversely, the chances of a shark being killed by a human are much higher.

Sharks, the real threat is man

Sharks have very ancient origins, they appeared even before the dinosaurs and have inhabited all the seas and oceans for 400 million years. Their existence is fundamental for the balance of the marine ecosystem but is today endangered by man. Every year, more than 100 million sharks are killed worldwide due to human activities, such as accidental catches and the overfishing. Their meat and especially their fins are indeed highly sought after and considered a delicacy in many Asian countries, but not only.

Me too'Italy plays a major role in the importation of shark meat products, representing the third largest importer in the world. As a result of this type of trade, 37.5% of the world's shark and ray species are threatened with extinction. The Mediterranean Sea is even considered a shark trap, because There is no adequate regulation on the conservation of vulnerable species. Suffice it to say that in recent years, thanks to the activities of citizen scienceEvidence has been gathered showing that fishermen are illegally catching protected or endangered shark species in many Mediterranean countries.

Sharks, (un)conscious consumption

Indeed, it is not uncommon to come across sharks and rays in local markets, where they are sold or presented as more commercially valuable species, like swordfish. The consumer, therefore, due to the sale of steaks or fillets already without skin and the absence or incomplete labeling, risks consuming shark meat, not only through ignorance, but also through fraud.
Additionally, ignorant consumption and lack of a controlled supply chain lead to we also risk our healthbecause these are species very often subject to contamination by toxic substances such as mercury.

Sharks, fundamental for the marine ecosystem

The existence of sharks is essential to ensure the proper functioning of the marine ecosystem. Indeed, thanks to their ability to store large quantities of carbon dioxide, they contribute to mitigate the impact of climate change. Additionally, being at the top of the food chain, they maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

Fortunately, there seems to be a slow change of direction. Different projects, like OnShark, aim to increase knowledge about sharks and their threats, thereby creating adequate conservation measures to safeguard these species. Various organizations are actively collaborating with fishing industries and governments to develop techniques to reduce incidental catches during industrial fishing trips.

The future of sharks, and therefore ours, also depends on each of us, through small everyday gestures. For example, checking that the beauty products we buy do not contain squalene, an ingredient derived from shark liver; consume fish sustainably by checking labels; avoid encouraging the trade in souvenirs or other items containing shark parts such as teeth.

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Each of us can therefore participate in active change and for this reason Worldrise Onluscommitted for 10 years to the protection of our oceans and raising awareness of projects aimed at sustainable development, launched the campaign 30×30 Italy whose objective is to protect at least 30% of Italian seas by 2030 through the creation and promotion of marine protected areas.

Information: Worldrise.org

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