This week marks the 29th season of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, appearing in more than 220 countries and territories around the world – a clear sign that it’s the perfect opportunity for PADI® to rally public support for shark conservation. Although the media (and most certainly Shark Week) have played into harmful stereotypes and myths that still persist, the desire to better understand the crucial role sharks play in the ocean has flourished.
Sharks have been roaming our oceans since before the time of dinosaurs. During the past 450 million years, they have evolved into the world’s most perfect predator; but their long reign at the top of the ocean food chain is being threatened as sharks are overexploited through excessive fishing, bycatch and finning. Sadly, sharks are disappearing from our oceans faster than people think and, of the more than one thousand known shark and ray species globally, nearly one-quarter are classified as “Threatened with Extinction.”
You can help! Become a steward for our oceans by taking action to help protect shark and ray populations.
- Become a PADI Diver. Divers are some of sharks’ biggest fans! Not only are robust shark populations critical to ensuring healthy ocean ecosystems, but sharks are also incredible to witness in their natural environment. Diving will transform your life and forever change the way you think and feel about sharks. Visit PADI.com/start-diving to get started today.
- Support responsible shark tourism. Book your next dive vacation with a PADI Dive Center or Resort in an area that supports shark conservation. When you commit to best practices, you help build a better future for sharks, rays and your local community. Get started with this list of shark sanctuaries around the world, published by the PEW Charitable Trust. If you are a dive operator, discover how you can take action through the Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism: A Guide to Best Practice from Project AWARE®, PADI’s long-time non-profit partner in shark and ray conservation.
- Make a donation. Help support critical shark and ray conservation measures through a donation to Project AWARE. For a limited time, when you donate $25 US or more you’ll receive a limited-edition silky shark mask strap as a token of appreciation for your support.
- Speak up! Fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the shark fin trade every year. The fin trade poses one of the greatest threats to sharks’ survival, but you can help. Make your voice heard this Shark Week. Contact your local government officials or connect with organizations who are working to stop shark finning around the world. If you live in the U.S., tell your members of Congress to ban the sale and trade of all shark fin products in the US.
- Keep learning. Teach or enroll in the Project AWARE Shark Distinctive Specialty and learn more about the challenges facing shark populations. Share your knowledge with others or mobilize dive troops to be shark advocates.
- Join the discussion. Follow PADI on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to join the online conversation. Each day this week we’ll share #SharkWeek facts to help dispel misconceptions about these magnificent creatures. Help us spread the word using the #padi4change hash tag!