The productive coastal waters around Sanibel and Captiva are an important place for many species of sharks. They come to feed, to mate, and to raise their young pups — and we are very lucky to have them here. Sharks are apex predators that help keep our coastal ecosystem in balance. A decline in their populations can cause cascading effects down through the food web, and can greatly impact the stability of our other local fish populations.
To keep our shark populations healthy, we as a community need to better understand them, and then in turn protect them. Fear and misinformation need to be replaced with education and stewardship, just as our community has done for all of the other wildlife on our islands.
To coincide with Discovery’s Shark Week starting on Sunday, August 9, SCCF is excited to launch a Shark Advocacy Campaign to raise awareness and improve education on the importance of our local sharks. To kick things off, we just published new web pages devoted to sharks. Compiling the most up-to-date information on sharks to educate our local community with actual data related to shark encounters, we hope to encourage best practices for safe catch-and-release fishing, and offer guidance on how to help maintain healthy shark populations. By educating yourself about our local sharks, you are taking the first big step in helping to ensure their survival, and consequently, the betterment of our local ecosystems.
Please take some time to enjoy these new web pages and all of the photos, illustrations, educational information, and resources you’ll find within. We bet that you’ll learn some really cool things about our local sharks that you didn’t know before!
Also keep an eye out for new shark advocacy informational cards that we will be distributing across the islands. We encourage our local anglers, beachgoers, and the entire community to advocate for sharks! And, watch for our CEO Ryan Orgera’s Guest Opinion columns in this week’s Island Sun and in Saturday’s News-Press and Naples Daily News.