It’s that time of year again, Shark Week! Every year, The Discovery Channel dedicates an entire week to sharks. While we are all for a week long binge on learning about these amazing animals, the annual hit also creates unnecessary fear around sharks. With CGI blood, quick cuts, and scary music (cue the Jaws theme), Shark Week upholds the fear of sharks being the scary monsters of the sea. In reality, you are more likely to be killed by a hot dog than a shark. Yep, a hot dog.

Ready for another mind-boggling fact? Oceanic Preservation Society recently shared the frightening fact that in the time it takes you to watch one hour of a Shark Week program, 11,000 sharks will be killed for their fins. 11,000 sharks. In one hour. Seems like sharks should fear humans instead of the other way around…

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Oceanic Preservation Society 

Every year, an estimated 100 million sharks are pulled from the oceans, either as the unfortunate victims of bycatch from the commercial fishing industry or for the sake of the shark fin soup trade. Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in certain parts of Asia and the demand for this meal costs the oceans around 75 million sharks every year.

The fact is, we need sharks to maintain our ocean ecosystems. Without this top predator, smaller prey species increase in number and wipe out the aquatic vegetation that releases oxygen into the marine environment. The oceans provide us with around 70 percent of our oxygen, so it is vital that we keep this ecosystem in balance and do all we can to maintain it. We do not need shark fin soup, we do, however, NEED oxygen.

We can all take action for sharks by raising awareness for this species. Instead of sensationalizing the “blood-thirsty” nature of sharks, we should spread the reality of how important these animals are to our own survival. If you want to help sharks survive, share this post and encourage others to as well. You can also help reduce the number of sharks killed by the commercial fishing industry by lowering or eliminating your seafood consumption.

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To learn more about these important marine animals, check out the following resources:

Lead image source: Allan Lee/Flickr