Contrary to expectations, the purpose of Shark Awareness Day is not to stand on the beach and shout out warnings to terrified swimmers and surfers, despite the hours of innocent fun that can provide.
It’s true that sharks are impressive hunters and predators, yet the sad fact remains that these magnificent creatures are more threatened by people than we are by sharks. The worldwide demand for shark-fin soup, shark-tooth medallions, and a false sense of security on beaches everywhere, all combine to leave sharks persecuted and endangered, with millions of them being killed each year.
Like top predators in any ecosystem, sharks play an essential role in keeping the seas healthy and productive. Whilst no-one is suggesting we go out and hug a Great White on Shark Awareness Day, it’s the least we can do to respect these wonderful creatures and let them be.