The shark is an apex predator of the marine ecosystem, residing at the top of the food chain with no predators of it's own. Apex predators have a crucial role in maintaining the health and balance of their ecosystems. The removal of top-level predators through human actions can radically alter or disrupt relationships within the ecosystem.
As we do not have an adequate understanding of the interactions between members of the ecosystem and the degree of interconnectedness involved, disturbing this balance has the potential to threaten our oceans as support systems for human life.
The ocean is the Earth's biggest producer of oxygen. Covering two-thirds of the world's surface, it is home to tiny, microscopic marine algae called phytoplankton that forms the base of the marine food chain. This single-celled plant algae allows us and all living organisms to stay alive, producing an estimated 70-80 percent of our oxygen and being the largest consumer of carbon dioxide on the planet. The colder the surface waters, the more essential nutrients are available to support phytoplankton.
So essentially, life on land depends on life underwater, to thrive.
It is reasonable to assume the removal of predators such as the shark may affect the population numbers of their prey, which in turn can affect member further down the foodchain, such as the phytoplankton.
Sharks are 400 million years old. For all that time, they have been the driving force of marine evolution, causing their prey to seek better ways to survive in the oceans.
Future generations deserve the right to marvel at this magnificent creature, just as much as we do.
Learn more about this beautiful creature at our new website, Stop Shark Finning.