I love the ocean! It’s a place where I can feel at peace and recharge. I used to fear the ocean, and sharks too, the dark waters, the big waves, and the unknown underneath. And of course, the movie Jaws played a big part in that. But now that I know more, I feel sorry for sharks, as they are one of the most misunderstood animals on earth. I always joke they need to fire their PR team! They are APEX predators, but they are not the monsters that movies and the media make them out to be.
I remember the first time I free dove with a shark that was bigger than me. I was nervous because the dozens of sharks that were in the water with me were capable of hurting me, even taking my life if they had wanted to. But they didn’t. Instead, as I swam closer to one of the bigger sharks, who was ID’ed as Miss Aloha, I was able to see her eyes looking right back at me. I immediately sensed her energy; she was calm and graceful. I was so overwhelmed by her peaceful energy that it had calmed my nervousness. It was a magical moment. The truth is, I have dove over 100 times, and I never experienced anything even close to a shark attack. When I’m in the ocean, I act like a predator (I give eye contact and am calm and alert), and not like prey (panicking, splashing and swimming away); therefore, they respect me as a fellow predator, as I respect them and give them their space.
Sharks are intelligent creatures who, like all animals on earth, are just trying to survive. When one person gets attacked by a shark, there is worldwide news coverage. But humans kill an estimated 73 million a year, yet, no one talks about it. Every year I go diving, there are fewer and fewer sharks and marine life in the ocean. In recent years, the scarcity of marine life has become even more noticeable. I just can’t figure out why people consume sharks when shark meat has toxins and high levels of mercury, why are they paying so much money to potentially poison themselves? The truth is, the ocean needs sharks, and we need the ocean. The ocean provides us with over 50% of the oxygen we breathe. No ocean, no humans. Is it really necessary to deplete the ocean at such an alarming rate? Please be a conscious consumer. Read labels, avoid shark products (they are even in cosmetics and supplements, look for the word squalene and make sure it is vegan sourced) and try to find out the source of where your food comes from. Shop and eat from sustainable sources.
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WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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