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Endangered Ocean: Sharks

3 minutes

(Describer) Under a round logo of a wave, title: Ocean Today.

(male narrator) Sharks have existed for more than 400 million years. There are more than 450 species of sharks throughout the ocean, and they come in all different colors and sizes. The whale shark is the largest, reaching over 40 feet-- as large as a school bus. At a mere six inches, the small dwarf lantern can fit in the palm of your hand. Sharks have in common the role they play in their ecosystems. Most sharks are apex predators, at the top of the food chain. They play a vital role in keeping the ecosystem healthy by feeding on weak, old, and unhealthy fish, stopping the spread of disease among populations. Sharks take years to mature, have few young at a time, and are highly migratory. What makes them unique also makes them vulnerable. While the majority of shark species have sustainable populations, a number of them have been shrinking at an alarming rate. For these species, overfishing, bycatch, and shark finning are contributing factors in their decline, so international concern about shark conservation has grown. In the United States, sharks are managed to ensure their population size can support sustainable fisheries and the ecosystem, and shark finning is prohibited. And thanks to growing global awareness about vulnerable shark species, many countries are implementing shark-fin bans, even in places where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy and cultural tradition. In March of 2013, as a result of tremendous international cooperation, five shark species were listed by CITES, an international organization. This means increased protection for these particular sharks, while still allowing legal and sustainable trade. A healthy ocean needs healthy shark populations, and sharks need our help.

(Describer) Title: Narrator: Ethan Sawyer Logos are shown for the Smithsonian and NOAA. Accessibility provided by the US Department of Education.

Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Sharks have been swimming the ocean for 400 million years. But today, many species of sharks are in deep decline due to overfishing and shark finning. A healthy ocean needs sharks. Thankfully awareness of their importance is growing. Part of the "Endangered Ocean" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 3 minutes

Endangered Ocean
Episode 1
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Endangered Ocean
Episode 2
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Endangered Ocean
Episode 3
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Endangered Ocean
Episode 4
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Endangered Ocean
Episode 6
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Endangered Ocean
Episode 7
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12