How Do Sharks Help The Ocean

Sharks are often portrayed as vicious creatures that feed on humans, but the truth is they actually help to keep us safe by eating the fish that would otherwise eat our bait. Sharks also serve an important role in keeping other animals’ populations under control. Without sharks, many ocean species would over-populate and take up space where they do not belong. Shark conservation efforts are vital because even though sharks only make up 0.5% of all living marine life, without them we will suffer devastating effects to our ocean’s ecosystem.

Sharks Are The Ocean’s Top Predators:

Being a giant, ferocious predator with hundreds of razor-sharp teeth is no easy job. It may seem like it’s just the shark’s nature to feed on the ocean’s other inhabitants, but the truth is that sharks are key components in maintaining balance in their ecosystem. Without this top-slot predator, the ocean would be filled with far more jellyfish and turtles. 

Sharks essentially keep the ocean healthy by eating the sick and basically anything that could pose a threat to the fragile ocean ecosystem if it were to spread. Furthermore, sharks help control overpopulation in certain species by reducing their numbers through natural predation. 

Prevents jellyfish bloom:

Jellyfish blooms occur when there is a significant increase in the number of Jellyfish in a given area. Normally an indicator of poor water quality which is similar to algal bloom. This reduces the amount of oxygen in the water, which then drives out most other marine life and can even kill fishes in close proximity. Sharks eat jellyfish to keep their populations under control. 

Preventing them from becoming too large for the environment to support. When sharks are removed by overfishing,  jellyfish populations can become out of control. But sharks, as top predators, eat jellyfish as a food source and keep them under control enough for the environment to function properly. Without sharks, jellyfish could grow to such an extent that they would take over ocean habitats and drive out other marine life.

There are no more sick or weak turtles:

A healthy turtle population is a sign of a healthy ocean.  Sharks eat sick and weak turtles to keep the rest of the species strong and intact. This prevents certain species from dying off at a rapid rate, which can be critical for their survival. Weak turtles can also feed on weaker organisms such as sponges and anemones, destroying natural habitats and creating monocultures where one species reigns supreme: When shark numbers decline, so do turtle populations because there are fewer sharks to eat them.

Sharks help the ocean by maintaining a healthy turtle population as well. Turtles, as it turns out, are one of the shark’s favorite meals. In fact, sharks love turtles so much that they’ll even risk getting caught in small crevices just to eat them. 

They Keep Populations Of Other Species In Check:

By eating the sick and old. Sharks keep their prey healthy by not letting them get too big or growing in numbers faster than the environment can support. When sharks are removed from the water, prey populations can grow to an extent that they take over ocean habitats.

Sharks don’t just eat their prey: They also help by stimulating a balance of population among species in different parts of the ocean.  For example, with a healthy shark population, smaller predators eat the fish that prey on smaller organisms. They help maintain an ecosystem balance by causing the prey to move from place to place and stay active. In these ways, they contribute to a healthier environment for other marine life.

The Food Chain Is Disrupted Without Sharks To Control It:

All lifeforms on earth, including ourselves, are connected in some way by food chains. These start with plants or other organisms feeding off of the sun’s energy, and end with apex predators such as sharks. Without these powerful creatures to maintain balance in the ecosystem, the food chain would collapse, resulting in drastic changes to many marine ecosystems. One of the most important roles sharks plays in maintaining a healthy ecosystem is being at the top of the food chain and keeping their prey in check.

Without a system of checks and balances, sea life can become out of control after a certain point. Organisms that prey on other species reproduce faster than they can be consumed. If enough food isn’t available to them, these organisms will die off and cause a domino effect in the surrounding ecosystem.

Sharks help improve our economy:

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry that helps support many country’s economies. One of the biggest attractions to tourists is visiting places with an abundance of marine life. When people can safely swim in the ocean, they flock to beaches. This is why shark tourism has become more lucrative over the years. 

By protecting the ocean and its inhabitants, we can work together to build a better economy for ourselves and future generations. Without sharks in our oceans, the ecosystem will be thrown out of balance, and tourism revenue along with it. Learning about how important sharks are for our planet is the first step in preventing their extinction.

Sharks may help scientists:

A tumor is an uncontrolled growth of cells, which can spread throughout the body and take over healthy cells if not treated. Cancer in humans is similar to overpopulation in the ocean: By understanding how sharks fight cancer, we can gain insight into potential new prevention and treatment strategies for this deadly disease that affects millions of people every year. 

Sharks’ innate ability to kill off tumor cells suggests that they may be better equipped to fight cancer than we are: Their immune systems respond quickly and efficiently enough to prevent tumors from forming and spreading throughout their bodies.  

Without these animals that are at the top of the oceanic food chain, the oceanic food web and ecosystem would be significantly altered and human health may be compromised. 

Sharks Also Help Maintain Healthy Coral Reefs:

 By eating sea snails and crustaceans,  which prey on coral polyps, sharks help maintain the health of coral reefs. Without predators like sharks to keep them in check, these animals would potentially eat every single coral polyp, killing the reef in the process. 

Due to climate change and natural disasters, a number of reefs have been severely impacted. Some species of sharks that once lived there have become extinct or too rare to find. If shark populations continue to dwindle, other marine lifeforms will die off as well—and so will our coral reefs.

Shark Population Is Quickly Declining:

As apex predators, sharks have a slow reproduction rate and low genetic diversity. This makes it difficult for populations to recover from a large decline in numbers. Sharks can take decades to fully mature and produce young, which means that even if we stopped all fishing tomorrow, many species would not be likely to survive.

Even if we wanted to stop fishing, we might not be able to: The distribution of sharks makes them difficult to track and monitor. Unlike animals such as baleen whales that can swim long distances, many species of sharks tend to stay in a small area due to limited food sources. This means we may need more research and observation to fully understand their habitats.

Certain sharks are more economically valuable than others, which makes them a target for fishermen: In many places around the world, sharks have been hunted to the brink of extinction because they’re prized. As a result, certain species’ numbers have dropped by over 90% in less than 30 years.

Although we don’t know exactly how much damage has been done to shark populations worldwide, scientists predict that up to 3/4 of the approximately 400 different species of sharks may be threatened with extinction in the next few decades. That’s because these animals grow slowly and have a long maturation period, so they cannot recover from overfishing as quickly as other types of fish.

How Do Sharks Help The Ocean

At this point in time, sharks are too valuable to lose: 

We may not know exactly what effects shark populations have on marine ecosystems, but their presence is needed for the health of our oceans and all of the plants and animals that live there. In fact, some scientists believe that removing apex predators like sharks from an ecosystem could cause irreparable harm to the environment. Sharks’ role as a top predator is similar to humans’. 


What can we do to help?

The most viable solution would be to stop fishing for sharks altogether. This is easier said than done, however: When one type of shark becomes rare, fishermen just switch to targeting another species. While some countries have laws that regulate the types of gear allowed in the water and limit boats from catching certain species, not everyone follows these regulations.

Education initiatives dedicated to preserving sharks and their habitats are crucial if we want future generations to see more than just a glimpse of this fascinating species. These projects aim to teach people about the value of sharks by illustrating their role in ecosystems both locally and around the world, as well as what we can do as consumers to help protect them from extinction.