Earlier this year, The International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN's) Shark Specialist Group (SSG) conducted the first-of-its-kind study to assess the global fate of the world's sharks and rays, and their findings were nothing short of shocking: It predicts that up to one quarter of the world's sharks and rays could face extinction within just the next few decades.
Since it's Shark Week here at Discovery, there couldn't be a more perfect time to look at what's causing this possible catastrophic extinction and - more importantly - ways we can prevent it. It is mostly our fault, after all: over-fishing has become a huge problem as the demand for their meat, fins, cartilage, liver, skin and teeth has increased in the past few decades.
Shark finning - the brutally inhumane practice of killing a shark for its fins -- is responsible for up to 75 - 100 million shark deaths per year. Millions more get killed each year when they unintentionally get caught in fishermen's nets.
So what can we do about it? Lobbying your local lawmakers is one way, but telling your friends and spreading the word on social media also works. Donating to shark conservation charities, like the ones we've listed below, is another great way to get involved. Otherwise, if you have any other ways to help save the sharks, please share them in the comments section below.
EU, Egypt, Ecuador, and Costa Rica Throw Lifeline to Overfished Sharks (Pew Trusts)
10 Ways to Save Sharks (Shark Angels)
What Can You Do to Stop Shark Finning? (StopSharkFinning.net)
One Quarter of the World's Cartilaginous Fish Face Imminent Extinction (Science Daily)
Shark Finning in Decline in Far East (The Guardian)Humans are taking a greater toll on sharks than sharks have ever taken on humans. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
Overfishing of Sharks is Harming Coral Reefs (Science Daily)
Donate To Save A Mile Of Ocean (Conservation International)
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