My favorite trait of summertime has got to be Shark Week. I vividly remember walking into the living room when I was about 5 or 6 years old and being dazzled by the program my dad was watching. Underwater footage with shark silhouettes swimming so peacefully across the screen mesmerized me. At that moment, I was hooked! It was a few days later that I realized my dad was watching Shark Week. He’s always been into the ocean, fishing, sea life and sharks. I grew up on the Texas coast, so a fondness for the beach is something that was instilled in me when I was very young.
A lot of people ask me why I love sharks so much. “Why sharks? Why not dolphins or turtles or something?” They ask.
Sharks are very misunderstood animals, I think that’s where most of my fascination comes from. People don’t realize why they’re so important to our underwater ecosystems, nor do they really see the damage that humans have done to sharks in the last 50 years alone.
First and foremost, sharks fee don the dead and dying fish in our underwater ecosystems. Humans often think they are at the top of the food chain, but in reality, life underwater rally is as hardcore as it gets. If you’re too slow, too sick, too old or too weak, you’re a goner. It’s a really intricate process that essentially keeps our oceans healthy. Sharks have been hunting for millions of years. They are literally living dinosaurs. The Great White Shark, for example, has never had to evolve. Imagine that! The moment you landed on this Earth, you were perfect!
So, why are sharks so important to the planet?
If sharks no longer existed in our oceans, different species of fish would become disproportionately abundant, which would dangerously affect food supplies for other fish. Not only that, but if dying or sick fish continued to live in the ocean, it would negatively affect other populations, and that would start a domino effect that would eventually make its way up to the surface.
Our planet is nearly 70 percent water. There is so much of the ocean that we have yet to explore, and ultimately, everything that happens at the bottom will eventually make its way up here. An unhealthy fish population will affect coral reefs, and coral reefs are a vital part of maintaining the balance underwater. Sharks affect every single aspect of that cycle.