The Blog Aquatic » Shark Week http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Shark Week 2014 is FINished http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/17/shark-week-2014-is-finished/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/17/shark-week-2014-is-finished/#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 13:00:56 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9025 Continue reading ]]>

Photo: Digital Vision

Another Shark Week has come and gone. Were you on the edge of your seat watching Discovery’s shark specials or tweeting corrections about their info-tainment? We here at Ocean Conservancy were doing a bit of both. Shark issues do get a huge bump, especially on social media, during Shark Week. We felt it was important to use this swell of interest to share important shark information and turn casual Shark Week viewers into full on shark advocates.

Sharks Are Fin-tastic: Ocean Conservancy’s Google Hangout

On Thursday, August 14, we hosted a Sharks Are Fin-tastic Google Hangout that was moderated by George Leonard, our chief scientist. Our panelists included David Shiffman, Dr. Joe Quattro, Juliet Eilperin, and Austin Gallagher. They all touched on what they thought were the biggest threats facing sharks. Their answers ranged from ignorance about sharks to shark finning. They all have hope for the future though. Recent studies show some shark species are rebounding and world leaders are implementing new protections like marine protected areas. And thanks to questions from our Twitter followers, we were able to have a lively Q&A session.

Dating Bites – Meet the Shark of Your Dreams

Despite being so misunderstood by humans, sharks are still searching for reel love. We created shark dating profiles so supporters like you can get to know sharks a little better.

Highlighting New Protections for Scalloped Hammerheads

Scalloped hammerheads are the first shark species ever to be protected by the Endangered Species Act. We asked people to celebrate Shark Week by thanking NOAA for taking a step in the right direction for shark conservation.

Hey Girl, Share Your Shark Week Love

Continuing with our theme of shark love, we sharkified the ‘Hey Girl, Ryan Gosling’ Meme. Send one to your fellow shark lovers today!

Toilets Are Scary, Sharks Are Not

With Shark Week specials like Sharkageddon giving viewers bloody dramatizations of shark attacks, it’s important to put things in perspective. There are so many everyday things more likely to kill you than sharks. Did you know dogs, bees, snakes and pigs kill more people than sharks every year?

Sharks Are Jawesome

Whether you love to hate Shark Week or devour it whole, we can all agree that sharks are Jawesome. The diversity of shark species is astounding! Each one is perfectly adapted to their environment, making them some of the top predators in the ocean.

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This is a First For Sharks http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/13/this-is-a-first-for-sharks/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/13/this-is-a-first-for-sharks/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:00:09 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8993 Continue reading ]]>

Happy Shark Week! We have some shark news to share with you — help is on the way for scalloped hammerhead sharks! Will you join us in thanking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for helping these sharks by granting them protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Thank NOAA today for protecting endangered scalloped hammerheads.


Scalloped hammerheads are the first sharks ever to receive this protection. They’re extremely vulnerable to shark finning and fishery bycatch throughout much of their range. This is a much-needed boost for this critically important and threatened species. In the last 20 years alone, the number of scalloped hammerheads has fallen by 75 percent. A loss like this has impacts throughout the rest of the ocean’s ecosystem. Sharks play a key role in controlling the abundance of prey they feed on.

Thank NOAA today for protecting endangered scalloped hammerheads.

I truly hope you’ll join us in thanking NOAA for protecting scalloped hammerheads. This is a great first step in the road to their recovery and to having a healthier ocean.

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Toilets Are Scary, Sharks Are Not http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/12/toilets-are-scary-sharks-are-not/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/12/toilets-are-scary-sharks-are-not/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 13:00:44 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8982 Continue reading ]]>

Photo: Armando Jenik

This post was written by Ocean Conservancy’s Digital Communications Intern, Maggie Tehan. Maggie is a recent graduate from Clemson University where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in Writing. When she’s not working at Ocean Conservancy, you can find Maggie expressing her biting wit on social media (pun intended), cheering on her favorite football teams, and wishing she had a permanent ocean view. 

What emotion comes to your mind when you think about sharks? For many people around the world, that emotion is fear. But why is there so much fear surrounding the topic of sharks?

Unfortunately, sharks have a well-known negative image, instilled in us by movies and news stories that continue to terrify people. The media has introduced a sense of fear in us and because of this distorted framing; sharks have been branded as villains or “man-eaters,” and have been feared and hunted for centuries. But is the media really classifying the right group as villains?

Humans fear the unknown and assumed threats, but sharks fear the legitimate perils that they face everyday. I know what you are thinking, what should sharks be afraid of? Well, it’s us. Humans threaten sharks livelihood day in and day out.  Sharks are some of the most biologically vulnerable creatures in the ocean because they grow slowly, mature late and produce few young.

In the 400 million years that sharks have roamed the ocean, they have been hunted for their meat, fins, teeth and more. Every day, 250,000 sharks are pulled out of the ocean and killed for their fins, meat and liver oil or as bycatch when they are accidentally caught in fishing nets or on hook and line. Humans slaughter more than 100 million sharks every year. Recently, overfishing has caused severe declines in shark populations.  The spiny dogfish shark, previously one of the most ample shark species in the works is now depleted off the U.S. East Coast.

Additionally, sharks face the threat of finning, the practice of cutting off the shark’s fin and tossing the carcass back into the water where they face a certain death. Shark fins are highly prized ingredients to a so-called delicacy, shark fin soup.  While shark finning has been banned in all U.S. waters, it still occurs legally in many parts of the world.

The negative media spotlight continues to hinder shark conservation efforts. Sharks are apex predators, which means they play a vital role atop the ocean food web, balancing many trophic systems. Because of this, shark conservation is crucial. The absence of sharks would threaten to affect the balance of delicate marine ecosystems that we have come to know and love.

Every year, dogs, bees, snakes, and pigs kill more people than sharks do. And in a single year in the United States, 43,000 people were injured by toilets while only 13 were wounded by sharks. That’s right—your toilet is 3,000 times more likely to hurt you than a shark.  Don’t let your misguided fear hinder shark conservation efforts and instead be educated on the legitimate risks associated with sharks.

Thanks to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. government is now protecting scalloped hammerheads under the Endangered Species Act. Scalloped hammerheads are the first shark species to ever receive such federal protections. You can do your part too, let NOAA know that you appreciate and support what they have done to protect scalloped hammerheads.

Let’s all be informed, aid conservation efforts and avoid being another shark’s nightmare.

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Sharks are Fin-tastic: Ocean Conservancy’s Google Hangout http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/11/sharks-are-fin-tastic-ocean-conservancys-google-hangout/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/11/sharks-are-fin-tastic-ocean-conservancys-google-hangout/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:00:26 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8927 Continue reading ]]>

It’s shark week and you’re invited to join us for a fin-tastic Google Hangout all about sharks!

Did you know that there are roughly 400 species of sharks? While many people fear sharks, the reality is that sharks have more to fear from humans than humans do from sharks. Join us as we talk about the coolest (and often unknown) facts about sharks, the greatest threats facing sharks today, and our biggest hopes for shark conservation. It promises to be a fin-tastic Google Hangout that you won’t want to miss!

Sharks are Fin-tastic
Ocean Conservancy’s Google Hangout
Thursday, August 14, 2014
11:00am EST

RSVP Today!

I’ll be moderating our Google Hangout. I’m in good company with our panelist of shark experts, including: David Shiffman, Dr. Joe Quattro and Juliet Eilperin.

I really hope you can join us! The Google Hangout is an online video chat that is going to be informative and interactive. You can submit your questions ahead of time by tweeting with the hashtag ‘#SharkWeekOC.’

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Sharks are Jawesome http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/10/sharks-are-jawesome/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/10/sharks-are-jawesome/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 12:00:22 +0000 Jackie Yeary http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8971 Continue reading ]]>

Photo: Cheryl Black

It’s that time of year again—Shark Week!

We love Shark Week because it’s an entire week dedicated to one of the ocean’s coolest animals. With more than 500 species, there are a lot of reasons to love sharks! Here are some of our favorite shark facts.

  • Sharks belong to a class of animals called Elasmobranchs, which also includes rays and skates. The animals in this group have “bones” made up of cartilage—the same stuff that’s found in your nose and ears.
  • Sharks come in all shapes and sizes! The smallest species of shark, the dwarf lanternshark, is only 8 inches long! That’s about the size of a pencil! On the other hand, the whale shark is the biggest fish in the sea! It can be over 40 feet long and weigh 20 tons!
  • Sharks have lots of amazing adaptations to make them perfectly suited to live in their environments. The Goblin shark has a set of protusive jaws, which project from its mouth to catch prey. When you live in the depths of the ocean, it’s important never to miss a meal! And the bull shark?  It’s not just restricted to saltwater—it can swim in freshwater and brackish water to search for prey!

  • Sharks have electroreceptors on the sides of their body. This allows them to sense magnetic fields underwater. Scientists believe these highly sensitive receptors allow sharks to detect the muscular movements of their prey, as well as navigate during long journeys.
  • Speaking of long journeys—sharks travel far! They swim hundreds of miles across the ocean. One shark, nicknamed Lydia, recently became the first known shark to cross the mid-Atlantic ridge, an underwater mountain range separating the Eurasian and North American  tectonic plates.
  • Sharks eat just about anything. Fish, sea lions, and even other sharks. Tiger Sharks (who are sometimes called the “garbage disposals” of the ocean) have been found with tires, liscense plates and other trash in their stomachs.
  • Sharks have a lot more to fear from people, than people do from sharks. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed by humans every year. And a recent report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that a quarter of sharks and rays are threatened with extinction.

Want more shark facts? We’ll be sharing lots of shark content all week long! Tune into our Twitter account every night to see our live tweets of Shark Week’s programs.

We’re also hosting a Fin-tastic Google Hangout on Thursday, August 14th at 11:00 a.m. EST. We have several great panelists, including David Shiffman, Juliet Elperin, and Dr. Joe Quattro. You can submit your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #SharkWeekOC.

We’re looking forward to a great Shark Week, and we hope you are, too!

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Can’t Get Enough of Sharks? Check Out Our Best Shark Posts http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/08/02/cant-get-enough-of-sharks-check-out-our-best-shark-posts/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/08/02/cant-get-enough-of-sharks-check-out-our-best-shark-posts/#comments Fri, 02 Aug 2013 17:05:20 +0000 Leigh Franke http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6444 Continue reading ]]> Lemon Shark

Credit: Jillian Morris

“SHARK!” Does the word conjure up images of a fin slicing toward you in the open ocean or on the edge of your seat completely absorbed in one of the year’s best television specials?

In preparation for Shark Week, which starts this Sunday, we’ve put together a roundup of some of our best shark blog posts from the past year:

What’s Your Shark IQ? How much do you think you know about sharks? Before taking a deep dive into the world of these complex creatures, test your basic knowledge with our short quiz. Do you know which shark swims the fastest?

Dreaming of Swimming with Sharks? Start with “the Domino” Now that you’re schooled on these big fish, take a look at the biggest of all, the whale shark. They are nicknamed “dominoes” because of their unique spots that can be used to track individual animals throughout their lifetimes. Watch what it’s like to swim in the water with the fish that can grow as big as a school bus.

Shark Bites: How Dangerous Are They? Whale sharks are filter feeders, passively scooping up small fish and plankton that are nearby, but some sharks can pack a powerful bite. Yet, despite these sharks’ sensationalized reputation as cold-blooded killers, you’re actually more likely to have a fatal encounter with a vending machine. What other day-to-day objects and activities are more likely to kill us than the bite of a shark? You’d be surprised.

Shark Attack Survivors Fight to Save Sharks There are still, however, headlines of shark attacks every year that strike a fear in beachgoers. But you don’t often hear about what happens to the survivors after recovery. One attack survivor, Debbie Salamone, realized her unique platform for speaking up about sharks. She gathered a crew of fellow survivors, including a World Cup soccer player from South Africa, a Wall Street businessman and a surfer from Hawaii, and formed Shark Attack Survivors for Shark Conservation. If they can see the value in saving sharks, then surely everyone else can.

After all, with over 100 million killed by humans each year, sharks are a lot more vulnerable than they look. From finning to bycatch to habitat destruction, sharks face real threats to their survival.

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Sharknado: Attacks or Encounters? http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/12/sharknado-attacks-or-encounters/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/12/sharknado-attacks-or-encounters/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 13:40:13 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6274 Continue reading ]]> shark

Credit: Steve Garner via Flickr

If “Sharknado” taught us anything, it’s that shark “attacks” come in a variety of forms.

But some researchers are questioning how we talk about them.

In general, the term shark “attack” is used by the media and the public to describe all kinds of human-shark interaction—even when there’s no harm or injury, according to Christopher Neff of the University of Sydney, Australia and Dr. Robert Hueter, leader of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research, who released a study earlier this year.

They suggest a new classification for “human–shark incidents” to support more accurate reporting about shark interactions. The categories, according to the press release:

Shark sightings: Sightings of sharks in the water in proximity to people with no physical contact.

Shark encounters: No bite takes place and no humans are injured, but physical contact occurs with a person or an inanimate object holding a person, such as a surfboard or boat. A shark might also bump a swimmer and its rough skin might cause a minor abrasion.

Shark bites: Bites by small or large sharks that result in minor to moderate injuries.

Fatal shark bites: One or more bites causing fatal injuries. The authors caution against using the term “shark attack” unless the motivation and intent of the shark are clearly established by experts, which is rarely possible.

While these interactions can at times be tragic, they can also lead to a calling—as a shark advocate. A show featuring the stories of some of these shark advocates was in last year’s Shark Week lineup.

“[Fear] is the biggest challenge we face,” one survivor told Ocean Conservancy last year. “Because people are so afraid, sharks are not the first animals people think of wanting to save. They think that sharks can take care of themselves, but they’re a lot more vulnerable than they look.”

Would changing the way we talk about attacks help save sharks? Listen to Neff’s TEDTalk below to learn more:

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