What is it about sharks that incites a primal fear in us? Is it the fact that sharks have multiple rows of razor-sharp teeth hanging out of their heads? Or maybe it’s their extrasensory ability to detect the heartbeats of nearby prey that digs deep into our psyche, reminding us that we are not the apex predators we believe ourselves to be. Certainly, the way popular media has portrayed them doesn’t help their cause. Regardless of the reason, sharks have long been victimized and labeled as mindless man-eaters intent on maiming anything they encounter.
This attitude, consequently, is a major reason why shark populations have experienced a precipitous decline over the past few decades. In certain populations, coastal apex sharks have declined by up to 90% as a direct result of overfishing and bycatch, or the unintended capture of a particular species. Even worse, scientists now estimate that more than 100,000,000 sharks are killed annually in commercial fisheries. At that rate, the loss of sharks as a top-level predator could lead to major imbalances in the marine ecosystem in the very near future, the impacts of which would echo through every level of the food web.
But fortunately for shark populations, the tide is changing and sharks are being given a fighting chance in the world of conservation. Science has now shown that maintaining healthy shark populations actually helps maintain biodiversity, and breakthroughs in the study of migration science are changing the way we approach shark conservation.
Bridging the gap between world-renowned marine biologists and the engaged, ocean-loving public, our newest partner Beneath the Waves is leading the charge on pushing the boundaries of shark science and conservation. Beneath the Waves is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the conservation of sharks and the habitats they occupy through cutting edge scientific research. By partnering with academic institutions, local and international NGOs, policymakers, entrepreneurs, local community members, and engaged citizens interested in the future of our oceans, Beneath the Waves has tagged more than 180 sharks in the last two years alone! With this information, scientists can better understand the ways sharks are utilizing habitats, where they are traveling, and ultimately how we can ensure a future in which sharks are thriving.
So where do we come in? Glad you asked! We’re incredibly excited to be kicking off Season Two of our tikós bracelets to support shark conservation in the Bahamas Shark Sanctuary. Supporting Beneath the Waves in their efforts to advance shark sanctuaries helps create areas where sharks can thrive without the pressure of being fished to extinction, a choice that supports healthy, diverse, and sustainable oceans.
Interested in figuring out how you can help us #MakeWaves for shark conservation? Every bracelet from tikós Season Two directly contributes to advancing shark conservation in the Bahamas Shark Sanctuary, as 15% of the profits from every purchase goes directly to our partners at Beneath the Waves. The second season of our tikós bracelet is still everything you’ve come to love from the original tikós bracelet - 100% recycled ocean plastic; 100% guaranteed for life. Better science and a brighter future through collaboration - it’s just one small way we’re working to #MakeWaves every single day.
Shaun Swartz for Cape Clasp
Environmental Educator, Science Communications Professional