The truth about sharks
The world’s sharks are in trouble. They need our help and their time is running out. Today there are more than 140 sharks on the endangered list. Over fishing (mainly for their fins) and climate change are putting many at critical risk.
Explorers caught up with marine biologist Blake Chapman to separate truth from fiction.
What is the number one thing you want people to know about sharks?
One of the most important messages is that there is no ‘typical’ shark.
In fact, there are more than 500 species of sharks. They are all different and unique! Each species is perfectly adapted to its needs and environment and this makes the diversity of sharks really fascinating.
Why do you love them so much?
Sharks are absolutely incredible animals. I first became interested in them when I realised that so much of what we hear about sharks is incorrect or at least very biased. There is so much more to sharks. The more we learn about them, the more incredible they become. Sharks are also an important part of our planet’s aquatic ecosystems.
How can we help protect and keep our sharks thriving?
Sharks are currently at risk from fishing, human-caused changes to their habitat and broader environmental changes, mostly from climate change.
The number one thing is to learn about them. Investigate all of the little (and big) things that make sharks fascinating and good. Then share what you have learned to help other better understand the true nature of sharks.
What misconception about sharks would like to right?
That sharks are bad and do the wrong thing. Sharks are predators, and some are very large and powerful.
Unfortunately, sometimes this has really sad outcomes for people who share the water with sharks. It’s important to remember, though, that biting and eating are important, natural behaviours for sharks. They bite to investigate things they might not fully understand and just like all other animals, they need to eat to survive!
Seeing a shark so close to places where we swim and play can be a bit scary, but they aren’t coming close to shore to frighten us. Coastal habitats are really important for many species of sharks. This might be where they find their food, have their babies, or where the water conditions are just right for the sharks’ needs.
You can learn more about Blake and the great work she does by visiting: https://www.blakechapmancomms.com
Blake’s new book, Ocean Animals – The Weirdest, Smartest and Sneakiest Sea Creatures is out now and available at all good book stores for $29.99.