What do Sharks Have to do With Sustainable Seafood?


Image via: Shark Safe

You've probably seen the lists floating around denoting which fish are safe to eat. These lists are based on a variety of factors - overfishing, mercury toxicity, and rarity. Eating sharks or shark fin soup is a no-no and clearly not on those lists. So, if you're not eating sharks, why do you have to worry about shark safe food?The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research and Education developed their Shark Safe Certification Program so that businesses and restaurants can demonstrate their commitment to shark protection to their customers. Members of the program must demonstrate that they are not selling any shark products and that seafood that is offered, be cause with shark safe techniques, such as no "longlines, fish aggregating devices, gillnets or trawl netting."

Applicants to the program, which was developed by scientists and researchers around the globe based on the Monterey Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program, must undergo an application process to document their non-use or sale of shark products. Members must: A) Increase public awareness of the need for shark conservation and B) Reduce the sale, use and trade of shark products. As a consumer, you can find out whether your local restaurant is behind this effort to protect sharks simply by noting the shark safe logo in their store.

What Makes Sharks so Sensitive?

Sharks are at the top of the food chain, which means that they have few predators. Therefore sharks mature slower than other species and have fewer young, making them easier to wipe out. Fear and drama have added to people's lack of understanding of these species, making them an easy target. According to Jim Toomey, creator of the logo and artist behind Sherman's Lagoon, says,

"Sharks have resided in a dark corner of our mythology for thousands of years, which is partly why saving this vital animal from extinction will require a special effort."

Know of a restaurant or two near you that is already hip to the shark safe cause, but not a member? Then you can become an Ambassador and nominate great restaurants in your area to the program, as well as encourage other restaurants to get on board with shark protection. :Shark Safe
More on Sharks
World's First Shark Sanctuary Set up in Palau
10 Tips for Avoiding a Shark Attack
Blue August: The Future of Sharks in Our Oceans

Tags: California | Conservation | Endangered Species | Oceans