Help Sharks: 5 Ways To Take Action During Shark Week So Our Finned Friends Have A Fightin' Chance

08/05/2013 04:39 pm ET | Updated Aug 06, 2013

Just one day in and you’re likely already screen-deep in #SharkWeek tweets.

Sunday marked the launch of Discovery Channel’s 26th annual Shark Week -- seven straight days (which includes after-dark specials) of programming totally centered around some of our favorite finned friends. And true devotes are glued to multiple outlets. Last year Shark Week followers sent out 2.6 million related tweets, a trending handle that playfully promotes the shows, but also helps to draw attention to the plight that many of these feared fish face.

For example, though “Jaws” may have you believe otherwise, sharks actually kill just an estimated 12 people each year. Humans, on the other hand, take the lives of more than 11,000 of these fish every hour, oftentimes through the cruel practice of “finning.” And new research has also found that Great White Sharks are way more at risk of becoming extinct than originally thought. Losing these “oceanic ambassadors,” who help keep our seas healthy, isn’t a risk we can afford.

Find out how you can get involved with keeping sharks safe.

Put A Stop To “Finning”

shark fin soup

Tens of millions of sharks are brought on board ships, where their fins are sliced off to be used to produce shark fin soup, and the defenseless animals are then thrown back into the ocean where they gradually drown or are killed by another predator. Find out how you can help put an end to finning by getting involved with the Humane Society International.

Save Great White Sharks From Extinction

great white shark

Great white sharks are more endangered than researchers originally thought. Experts had estimated that there were 2,000 members of these species in Gansbaai, South Africa –- the largest concentration of Great White Sharks. But a recent study conducted by Dyer Island Conservation Trust and Marine Dynamics Shark Tours found that there are 50 percent fewer than researchers estimated, meaning they’re far more vulnerable to extinction. Find out how you can get involved with DICT’s work to discover and protect this species here.

Support Sustainable Seafood Sources

shark

Nearly 85 percent of the world's fisheries are fished to capacity, or overfished. But if we shop in informed ways, we can directly help improve the health of the oceans, which is where Seafood Watch steps in. Find out which shark foods to avoid and which alternatives are OK to eat, without putting the species at risk here.

Help Shark Activists

shark activist

Consider offering a hand, or some funds, to the activism groups that are doing the most good to keep sharks safe. Shark Savers is committed to improving the images of sharks and raising awareness about the threats they face. The International Fund for Animal Warfare works to save individual animals, animal populations and habitats around the world and the Environmental Investigation Agency fights environmental crime.

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