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Sharks are rebounding and it's positive news for ecosystems

Words by Tess Becker

One of the scariest things on a summer day at the beach is to see sharks swimming in the water nearby. Thanks to movies like Jaws sharks have gotten a bad rap and while they’re still dangerous animals, they’re not nearly as dangerous as they’ve been portrayed. In fact, they’ve become more common recently and that might be a good thing.

Long-time conservation efforts have helped sharks rebound from decades of decline dropping to 30% of their 1980s population.

“Sharks are coming back. Their numbers are growing,” said Dr. Bob Hueter, chief scientist for OCEARCH, a nonprofit ocean research and education organization. “They’re not overpopulated, they’re not even probably close to what they were back in the 1940s and 1950s. But they are making a comeback.”

And again, sharks aren’t nearly as dangerous as we may have been led to believe. In fact, most sharks are practically harmless to humans. Only about a dozen of the more than 300 species of sharks have been involved in attacks on humans, and even then those shark attacks are rarely fatal.

Sharks are incredibly important to the ecosystems they live in, serving as keystone species meaning that their presence and ecological role impact the lives of many other species and processes, both directly and indirectly. So it’s very good news that they’re making a comeback. 

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

The Women Invested to Save Earth Fund. This organization helps support underrepresented and underfunded Black, indigenous, and women of color-led organizations across the world. Find out more and support them here

Collective Sun. They help nonprofits get outfitted with solar power capabilities. Check them out here.

Florida Bicycle Association. An organization that helps mobilize people and promote greener living and safer biking. Find out more

This article aligns with the UN SDG Life Below Water.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs