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August 5, 2011

A Safe Haven for Sharks

Editor’s note: Happy Shark Week! All week long we’ve been re-capping some highlights from Shark Week programming. Today we review last night’s “Shark City.”

Shark Week wrapped up last night with an appearance from this year’s Chief Shark Officer, Andy Samberg, in “Shark City.”

This episode was unique from the others that premiered so far this week in that several sharks were followed within a Bahamian marine protected area, so that viewers were able to get to know these individuals on a more personal level. Shark city seems like the ideal home for these sharks, but many sharks are migratory and this area is unfortunately an oasis in an otherwise dangerous ocean. Even though fishing is not allowed in the reserve, it occurs elsewhere nearby and sharks can become entangled in fishing gear.

Even though Hook, the largest reef shark in Shark City, was able to escape with “only” the hook and a bit of line still attached to his mouth, many other sharks are not so lucky. Additionally, only certain shark species are protected from fishing in the U.S., so if these sharks leave shark city they could become victims of the recreational or commercial shark fisheries.

In fact, several species of shark whose populations are known to be at risk of collapse in U.S. waters are still unprotected, and we need your help to change this. Please sign our letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service to get hammerheads (like our friend MC Hammerhead from Shark City) and tiger sharks the protection from fishing that they need. That way, Shark City can be expanded and more sharks can enjoy protection from bycatch and fishing threats.