From a young age I have loved sharks, and been fascinated by them. In January 2014 I got the chance to see a great white shark for the first time, it was an amazing experience, but it wasn’t enough…
The following October I went back to South Africa on a two month internship program with White Shark Africa in Mossel Bay, at the end of my time there, I was invited back again to work a bit more permanently with the company, which you can read more about on the Collaborators page.
Shark numbers are in free fall around the world, and although there are many fantastic organisations and individuals doing what they can do save them, its not enough. Most of us still fear sharks, and as a result, aren’t interested in saving them. We love dolphins and whales, and these animals have made a come back since we started protecting them. We need to do the same for sharks, but first, we must understand them.
In the last 50 years or so, 90% of large fish have disappeared, largely due to overfishing. Sharks take a long time to reach sexual maturity, and they are being fished out without any chance of being able to reproduce.
In some countries, beach nets and baited drum lines are used to ‘protect’ beach users from sharks. Fear is the only reason for them being there, as shark fatalities around the world are an extremely rare event. You have more chance of being killed by your toaster than by a shark, and yet between 63 and 273 million sharks are killed every year as a result of human actions.
My job in South Africa and in the UK, is to show people the true nature and behaviour of sharks, in particular the great white. Once there is a greater knowledge and understanding of these animals, there is a greater chance of them being protected.
“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” (Baba Dioum, 1968.)