Cape Town - In addition to awareness of marine life, this Marine Month, Two Oceans Aquarium and the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) have opened an exhibition called Shark Alley, the latest addition to the SOSF shark exhibit at the Aquarium.
With sharks playing an important role in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems, Two Oceans Aquarium’s communications officer Renée Leeuwner said that the removal of sharks from the ocean might have unexpected consequences for the entire balance of marine ecosystems, and may drive them closer to collapse.
“A collapse of this magnitude could result in the loss of essential food resources, job opportunities and biodiversity, and will ultimately impact negatively on the ocean’s ability to function as a life-support system for the planet.
“By protecting and respecting sharks and educating people about their plight, we can ensure that the marine ecosystem as a whole is afforded greater protection and respect, which in turn has positive outcomes for humans,” said Leeuwner.
The aquarium’s sustainability manager, Helen Lockhart, said it was important to understand sharks, which were widely misunderstand.
“Through millions of years of evolution, sharks have adapted and continue to adapt to their ocean habitat. Some of the survival strategies they have developed are exactly what makes them vulnerable to exploitation by the most efficient and dangerous predator of all – humans. We cannot continue to over-exploit, outwit and misunderstand sharks. If they are to survive globally, they need our support and love,” said Lockhart
SOSF chief executive James Lea said that to safeguard and care for the world’s oceans, projects like this would aid in educating and raising awareness about the endangered species.
“It was natural for the SOSF to partner with the Two Oceans Aquarium on this shark exhibit, as we are passionate about the power of communication to connect with and engage the public to transform our relationship with sharks and the oceans. With the goal of protecting and caring for the world’s oceans, the philanthropic organisation supports research, education and conservation projects worldwide, primarily those involving species of endangered sharks, rays and skates,” said Lea.
The message behind the Shark Alley exhibition is to take note of the plight of sharks, and act before it is too late, not only for the sake of the sharks, but for the sake of human survival too.