Hello! It’s been awhile since I last wrote. I was in a state of hibernation most of the winter and have recently started wandering and adventuring again, so expect some new adventure posts soon! Until then, I wanted to make sure to write about a very important day: Shark Awareness Day!
Although I grew up in Arizona, I always felt a strong pull towards the ocean. I was lucky to have a family that also liked the ocean, so we occasionally vacationed in places like San Diego and even took a big trip to Hawaii before I entered third grade. On that trip, I got to go snorkeling for the first time and fell absolutely in love with ocean life. In fact, the only reason I remember it was before third grade was because I proceeded to draw sea turtles on just about everything in third grade.
When I got older, my dad surprised me with scuba lessons! I earned my PADI open water certification at 16 and got to scuba dive in the Gulf of California as well as off Catalina Island in California. It was my dream to swim with a shark. However, I never saw a shark. The closest I got to swimming with a shark was when I was snorkeling in Mexico and thought I saw a shark. Unfortunately, I had to surface for air (breathing can be SO inconvenient) and by the time I returned, the “shark” was gone. I was unable to keep up my scuba habit into my twenties (lack of funds can be SO inconvenient), so up to this day I have not swam with a shark. *Cue sad violin*
Even though I’ve not had my time in the water with these amazing creatures (that I know of, at least), it’s still incredibly important to be aware of what is happening to sharks right now. Sharks have a bad rap due to Hollywood and over-exaggeration in the media; this reputation has led people to believe that they are not only dangerous but also not worthy of protecting. Over 100 million sharks are killed each year by humans and their populations are rapidly diminishing. Sharks have one of the slowest breeding rates of all fish, and they are simply not able to replenish their population at the rates we are killing them.
So, what can we do? Luckily, there are lots of great organizations determined to conserve and protect our beloved sharks. Here are a few I’ve found that are not only doing good for sharks, but for the ocean as a whole!
- Project Aware – Project Aware is a great organization that focuses on the conservation of sharks and rays through advocating on a global scale. Find out more about their efforts HERE. Love what they do? DONATE TO PROJECT AWARE HERE
- Save Our Seas – The Save Our Seas Foundation funds projects that help preserve our oceans and protect our sharks. Check out some of the incredible projects they’ve funded HERE
- 4Ocean – 4Ocean is an organization that conserves underwater environments by ridding the ocean of unnatural waste. They sell bracelets made completely out of recycled materials and each sale goes towards the removal of one pound of ocean debris. Right now, they have a limited edition Shark Conservation Bracelet that was made to match the stunning colors of a Great White. 10% of proceeds will go towards shark conservation efforts, and you will still be funding the removal of 1 pound of debris. Get your bracelet HERE for a limited time only! I’ve got mine. 🙂
This is just a small bite (shark humor?) of the organizations that are currently helping preserve and restore shark populations in our oceans. I’ve just mentioned these three because I am familiar with them, but if you know of any others feel free to comment and I may add them to this list! Wishing you a wonderful Shark Awareness Day, and hoping that everyone who dreams of swimming with a shark gets the chance! I’ll be taking a scuba refresher course soon, so hopefully it won’t be too long until I get to try out my shark humor on an actual shark. Will update.
Katrina Charles is a musician, writer, wanderer, adventurer, etc. currently living in Seattle, Washington. When she’s not doing the above activities, she enjoys paddleboarding, remembering to wear her fitbit, drawing, designing, and trying new things.