New book explains why we need sharks and what the future holds for sharks


Scientist Holly Booth says in Dr. David Shiffman’s new book, Why Sharks Matter, “The greatest risks to nature and biodiversity are caused by human choices and actions.”

Booth was not wrong. Human activities such as overfishing, land clearing for exploitation or agricultural land, and the introduction of invasive species are causing significant changes in biological communities around the world, resulting in remarkable declines in biodiversity in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Overfishing and unsustainable bycatch are the biggest threats facing many animals in our oceans. In fact, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these threats are currently endangering more than a third of the world’s shark and stingray species. That’s why ‘Sharks Matter’ comes at a heartbreaking time.

Shiffman is a marine conservation biologist specializing in shark ecology and conservation. “I’ve been fascinated with sharks for as long as my family can remember, and I knew essentially that I wanted to be a marine biologist studying sharks for the rest of my life,” he says. “My parents have always supported my crazy ambitions, but I think they believed that I would grow. Obviously, I never did.” A Pittsburgh native, whose work has been cited over 600 times, he specializes in marine conservation policy (including stakeholder knowledge and attitudes) and shark feeding ecology and behavior. Although he has spent much of his time working with sharks as a marine scientist, it is the human aspect of shark conservation that is turning the attention of Shiffman and many of the researchers covered in his book.

It has been pointed out for years that sustainability goals and environmental management fail to take into account aspects of human conservation, such as how decisions affect the lives of local people and how culture, values ​​and equity influence conservation outcomes. Numerous shark species live in water near coastal communities with strong cultural values, but few publications have studied these relationships to understand how local ecosystem management is linked to community values. As humans alter climate processes, overall biodiversity and ecosystem functions Articles focusing on key social concepts about sustainability Christina Higgs says it’s important to consider things from the perspectives of the social and natural sciences when pushing a sustainable management agenda. Co-author and researcher Melissa Poe said, “A connection with nature that motivates people to practice stewardship and care for one another if one’s well-being is not measured and attention is paid to the values ​​that underlie goals. This weakens and risks exacerbating inequality. Shiffman is also joining this approach. She has emphasized this perspective in the realm of shark science for many years, and is now re-emphasizing it in her book, which explains to readers the ecological significance of these predators, the threats they face, and the actions we can take. Join the rescue of sharks (whether you’re a scientist, an environmentalist, or someone who really loves them).

But before you read the end of his book, ask yourself these difficult questions: Are humans ready to help sharks? Are humans ready for an ocean with a rebounding shark population (ie more sharks)?

As science-based conservation efforts begin to succeed and populations continue to grow, leading shark scientists suggest we consider changing the way we fish, use our oceans, and manage other species. All of this requires public education and education. evangelism effort. It is more commonly known as Shiffman’s Bread and Butter. ‘Shark scientist hates Shark Week’, Because the series has a voice for minsinformation, which is often aired.

Whether this book will make you pause and reflect on shark awareness or teach you a few new facts about this predator, Shiffman hopes this work will shed light on the human side of shark conservation.

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