How Writing Essays About Sharks Can Save The Ocean
Shark protection was an important topic at a recent conference organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Researchers at the conference stated that in the next 30 years there will only be 12 species of sharks left in the ocean. Among these, the whale, hammerhead, white and thresher sharks. A recent study published in the journal Nature, finds that globally, oceanic shark populations dropped 70 percent between 1970 and 2018. If you want to learn more about efforts to protect shark populations and are interested in writing a paper on the subject, this article is here to help you. Certainly, this is an issue we can’t ignore. Not only is the shark a beautiful animal that deserves to exist, but it’s also our mascot and a friend to students seeking academic help.
Threats to sharks
- These “bloodthirsty predators” as the sensationalist press might call them, breed extremely slowly – a female’s pregnancy can last up to 2 years
- Large pelagic species reach sexual maturity by 10-20 years
- Mating occurs at intervals of 4-6 years!
- Quite often, fishermen kill immature young sharks. With such slow breeding, the killing of even one individual does irreparable damage to the shark population because the restoration of the population can be expected only after 12-15 years. Sharks simply do not have sufficient time to compensate for their losses.
- The biggest threat to sharks comes from unauthorized fishing. Small-scale industrialists and fishermen with their own longboats are lured by the high price they can get for shark meat and fins. Hundreds of thousands of sharks are killed annually.
- As it turns out, state flotillas are no less dangerous for sharks. When hunting for tuna or other fish, sharks quite often fall into the trawl. For example, in the Spanish longline fleet, which officially hunts swordfish, in fact, up to 70% of the total catch is pelagic sharks. And all this is hidden, because the millions of dollars received by the Spanish Shipping Corporation for tons of shark fins adds to the national budget and fills the pockets of those whose job it would be to regulate overfishing.
Ecosystem and pollution threats
- Ocean plastic: by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
- The chemicals pose a threat to top predators like orca and great white sharks.
- Ship collisions: in a study of 348 whale sharks, it was found that 92% of their horizontal space usage and nearly 50% of their vertical space usage intersects with large vessel traffic.
Climate change is changing the migration patterns of tiger and blacktip sharks.
· coastal erosion
· storm frequency
· water temperature
· sea level.
Arguments about sharks to use in your paper
We have prepared some interesting research arguments to consider when putting together your paper.
- Experiments on animals including sharks.
- Consumption of sharks in food and cosmetics.
- Overfishing and finning of sharks.
- Importance of sharks in the ecosystem.
- The effect of pollution on sharks.
- Shark protection is a vital process.
- The destruction of sharks and natural disasters – tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes and others.
- The extermination of sharks and the number of small predatory fishes.
- The extermination of sharks and the growth of ocean plants.
- Illegal fishing and damage to the entire ocean.
Topics for writing papers on sharks
You can choose a topic you like to write a good paper about sharks.
- Why sharks are significant to the marine ecosystem.
- Shark hunting destroys marine ecosystems. Explain.
- How did a sharkskin swimsuit change the Olympics?
- Should sharks be a protected species?
- Impact of shark finning on the environment.
- Link between shark finning and its detrimental effects on populations.
- Shark-skin-inspired low-resistance microstructured surfaces in a closed flow channel.
- How Hollywood affects the fear of sharks.
- The difference between a tiger shark and a whale shark.
- Explain how sharks are adapted to a predatory lifestyle.
Products that contain sharks infographic
Videos to watch before writing a paper about sharks
At the annual Wildscreen Film Festival, the Panda Award went to the short film “Save Our Seas,” which showed the deadly reality of how sharks are caught, how they are finned alive, and released into the water while still alive – to die.
Another video that could be good to watch is called “Sharks. It’s a Numbers Game.” It contains important statistics about sharks that everyone should know.
“Shark Finning vs Shark Fishing” is a video that is difficult to watch due to some graphic imagery. But anyone wanting to truly understand what’s happening should watch it.
Important researches of shark protection problems
Great white sharks have long been considered extremely dangerous predators, infamous for attacking both people and underwater fauna. A lot of these sharks live off the coast of Cape Town, in South Africa.
Ichthyologists and divers alike descend into the ocean in special cages to learn more about great white sharks. Scientists tag the sharks and follow them with GPS beacons to learn about their movements.
In False Bay in 2010, scientists were able to count the entire population of local great white sharks, and it turned out that there were about two hundred of them in the bay. However, by 2016, the researchers found that their number had dropped significantly, down to only 50 individuals.
Scientists sounded the alarm when, in 2019, not a single great white shark was found in the bay. Locals said that for a time they had seen one great white shark in the bay, but eventually that last individual disappeared too.
Local experts told scientists that between 2017 and 2019, they stumbled upon the bodies of great white sharks with obvious tooth marks. Zoologists rushed to search along the entire coast of the bay, and they managed to find several more bodies of the large animals. After a thorough examination, scientists came to an unexpected conclusion – the teeth marks belonged to killer whales. Zoologists found that the orcas had been attacking the great white sharks in order to eat their livers.
Sharks are critically endangered and scientists do not yet know how to protect the once formidable predators from the attacks of cetaceans.
Scientists fear that if a way is not found to stop the extermination of sharks, the entire food chain could collapse.
More sources to analyze for doing your own research
Cardeñosa, D., Fields, A. T., Babcock, E. A., Shea, S. K. H., Feldheim, K. A., & Chapman, D. D. (2020b). Species composition of the largest shark fin retail-market in mainland China. Scientific Reports.
Cardeñosa, D., Fields, A. T., Babcock, E., Shea, S. K. H., Feldheim, K. A., Kraft, D. W., Hutchinson, M., Herrera, M. A., Caballero, S., & Chapman, D. D. (2020a). Indo-Pacific origins of silky shark fins in major shark fin markets highlights supply chains and management bodies key for conservation. Conservation Letters.
Cardeñosa, D., Fields, A., Abercrombie, D., Feldheim, K., Shea, S. K. H., & Chapman, D. D. (2017). A multiplex PCR mini-barcode assay to identify processed shark products in the global trade. PLoS One.
Campbell, M. J., Tonks, M. L., Miller, M., Brewer, D. T., Courtney, A. J., & Simpfendorfer, C. A. (2020). Factors affecting elasmobranch escape from turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in a tropical penaeid-trawl fishery. Fisheries Research.
Ba, A., Diouf, K., Guilhaumon, F., & Panfili, J. (2015). Slow growth of the overexploited milk shark Rhizoprionodon acutus affects its sustainability in West Africa. Journal of Fish Biology.
Appleyard, S. A., White, W. T., Vieira, S., & Sabub, B. (2018). Artisanal shark fishing in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea: Biomass estimation from genetically identified shark and ray fins. Scientific Reports.
Gallagher, A.J., Brownscombe, J.W., Alsudairy, N.A. et al. Tiger sharks support the characterization of the world’s largest seagrass ecosystem. Nat Commun 13, 6328 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-33926-1
Iri Cermak. (2021) Jumping the Shark: White Shark Representations in Great White Serial Killer Lives—The Fear and the (Pseudo-)Science. Journalism and Media.
Essay sample about sharks
If you don’t know how to start writing your paper, try reading the following sample for inspiration. You will find valuable ideas that you can use in your writing. Having a good sample at hand can help spur you to write your own paper.
Why Sharks Are Important to the Marine Ecosystem
Sharks are some of the most powerful creatures in the ocean and yet, they’re highly vulnerable. Overfishing has led to the extinction of over 70% of open-water shark and ray species since 1970. This is particularly worrisome because they are what is referred to as “keystone creatures.” They play a vital role in the marine ecosystem. This article will investigate the diverse roles that they occupy in this environment.
Most shark species are apex predators. They are at the top of the food chain and have direct influence over their prey population. They are vital in keeping marine numbers within their optimal ranges. Sharks maintain the health of the marine food web by targeting weaker, older, sicker and slower animals. This increases the collective well-being of the ecosystem (Motivarash et al., pp 612). This is because eliminating sicker animals curtails the spread of diseases to others; outbreaks in such environments can adversely affect the overall populations of the marine ecosystem. Targeting older, weaker and slower animals helps strengthen the existing gene pool (Motivarash et al., pp 612), as those that are remaining produce better offspring who can adapt to and survive in the challenging environment. Sharks also play a role in maintaining the population numbers of other creatures in marine ecosystems; their hunting prevents other species from dominating the food chain. Overpopulation or crowding of certain species can have devastating consequences on their environments as it can mean over-consumption of valuable resources at the expense of other species’ survival.
Sharks are also fundamental to ecosystem processes such as maintaining the carbon cycle in the ocean. Carbon is a key element in life cycles and survival and a contributing factor to climate alterations. The best and most effective means of keeping carbon levels to their optimum ranges often involves natural or biological approaches, making the presence of species like sharks so important in related processes. Sharks trigger movement in ocean carbon cycles by feeding on dead organisms that accumulate at the sea floor’s bottom (Motivarash et al., pp 612). Furthermore, research has found that large marine animals like sharks and whales can isolate relatively large volumes of carbon in their bodies (Motivarash et al., pp 612). These abilities are innate and do not require the interference of external parties or resources. Left to their own devices, sharks contribute to maintaining the efficient functioning of delicate carbon cycles in marine ecosystems, playing a key role in nutrient cycling (Roff et al., pp 402). At the end of their natural lives, sharks descend to the bottom of the ocean and sea floors, where they prey on other animals, and the carbon in their bodies is recycled into the ecosystem.
Sharks are indirectly involved in maintaining the economy by controlling the species below them; this is supported by related studies which found that a reduction in sharks increased the population of rays (Motivarash et al., pp 612). This had a larger effect on the collective ecosystem, as the rays over-consumed the bay scallop population in the region to the point of elimination, and businesses such as fisheries had to close. Sharks are important as they control and remove invasive species (Roff et al., pp 402), which would tip the balance of the marine ecosystem. The decline of quahog numbers provides further proof of sharks’ effects on the economy, as restaurants had to stop serving clam chowder, which, of course, require clams as an ingredient (Motivarash et al., pp 612). The clam population decline was linked to reduced shark numbers. Sharks keep seagrass and other vital habitats healthy by controlling the behavior and number of prey species (Motivarash et al., pp 612).
This article showed that sharks are important for marine ecosystems because they maintain their food web health and the carbon cycle, affect the economy, and retain the vitality of habitats like seagrass.
Motivarash, Yagnesh B, et al. “Importance of Sharks in Ocean Ecosystem.” Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies, vol. 8, no. 1, Jan. 2020, pp. 611–613., https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338790362_Importance_of_sharks_in_ocean_ecosystem.
Roff, George, et al. “The Ecological Role of Sharks on Coral Reefs.” Trends in Ecology & Evolution, vol. 31, no. 5, May 2016, pp. 395–407., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2016.02.014
How to help sharks?
- Take care of the marine environment. Set a positive example for others. Be firm and persistent in environmental matters.
- Avoid shark killing products. In most cases, these are meat, fins, liver fat and cartilage (products in the form of steaks, soups, snacks, dietary supplements, cosmetics, animal feed, etc.).
- Share this important information with people: promote a humane attitude towards the other inhabitants of our planet. It is important to research the issue of shark protection. To ignore this issue may result in us never seeing some species of shark again, and as a result, the collapse of the entire ocean food chain.
- Unite with other activists and caring people – together it is easier to inform others about the difficult situation that sharks are in.
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