The Great Importance of Sharks
Every year, Dive the Big 5 offers divers the perfect opportunity to see the “fearsome” creatures of the deep. Except, they are not so fearsome once you get to know more about them.
We dive with some of Southern Africa’s most famous sharks. The Great White, Mako, Raggie, Dusky, Blue, and Whale are just a handful of the sharks that you can dive with. And each of these magnificent species is so important. Many people don’t actually give much thought to just how important sharks are to the health of our oceans and the survival of many of the creatures living within. All they see is the hungry beast that the media often presents them with.
Changing this perception is important for the survival of all sharks, and the change is already happening. With each shark dive, divers get the chance to intimately see the shark in its natural habitat, doing shark things.
Why are sharks so important?
The simple fact that for much of the general public the importance of sharks remains a mystery, is precisely why articles like this need to be written. Without the knowledge, the public simply remains fearful. So we’re breaking down the reasons why sharks are so important.
Sharks keep the balance
Sharks are responsible for keeping the oceans in balance. They are what is known as a “keystone species” as they are apex predators and so everything below them is kept in harmony through their actions. The species that they keep in check are kept in a healthy, well-balanced number and in turn, the species keep their prey in check as well. This cycle protects both food sources and oxygen levels in the ocean.
Some researchers have found that where shark populations have gone down, nearby coral reefs have started to decline. Herbivores are known to munch on the coral and other ocean plants, as a result causing a lot of damage when there is a lack of an apex predator roaming nearby.
They are the medics
Sharks play the very important role of removing sick and weak creatures from the ocean. By doing this, they are helping to ensure that only the strongest of the species survive and no illness or mutations will be passed on to others. This benefits the sharks because they will not have to use much energy to catch this prey and they will also be making their own environments a lot healthier.
They help the economy
This has little to do with keeping the oceans in pristine condition, and more to do with how the ocean food chain has an effect on the economy. With the loss of sharks, it can be very difficult to keep other predators in line and the result is that these predators end up decimating fish populations that we might rely on.
The other way that sharks can help the economy is through tourism. Small coastal communities rely on the income from those tourists travelling to the area to see sharks. Whether it is through a diving expedition or some other avenue that allows people to see sharks, their presence in the oceans can greatly boost the local economy.
Our oceans need sharks and once you’ve dived with a shark, you’ll understand why they are actually a beautiful part of the underwater eco-system. With our wide variety of diving opportunities, you can see Great Whites the one day and Tigers the next. Book your dive with the company that has more than 22 years of experience.