From Shellfish Dinners to Blood Thinners: How Sharks Help Shape Our World

Sharks have terrified beachgoers ever since Jaws took a bite out of cinema history more than forty years ago. Despite the fact shark attack incidents are dropping worldwide, many still dread a deadly encounter with one of these denizens of the deep. Sharks may be far more beneficial to humans than ever imagined, however. Here are three ways sharks make an important impact in our world.

A Healthier Sea

As the ocean’s apex predator, sharks play a vital role in the underwater ecosystem. Maintaining consistent populations of aquatic plant and animal life ensures a robust environment in which species of all shapes and sizes can thrive. As scavengers, sharks devour dead and decaying matter which helps clean the water. Marine biologists and oceanographers often study these fantastic fish to help gauge the wellbeing of our oceans.

A Healthier You

Scientists have been studying the possible health benefits of sharks for years. Squalamine, a chemical compound found in the stomach of dogfish sharks, has been examined for its potential in treating macular degeneration and cancer. Anti-clotting agents in shark blood are being researched in hopes they could one day be a human blood thinner and help remedy heart disease. Some people investigate shark cartilage nzfor its use in alleviating arthritis, enteritis, psoriasis and other conditions.

A Healthier Economy

Sharks are good for businesses beyond television and film companies. The shellfish aquaculture industry, as well as our appetites, owe a debt to sharks. These mighty ocean predators prey on lesser hunters such as rays and octopi which, if left unchecked, would significantly reduce the world’s population of lobster, crab and other shellfish and limit our opportunity to sample the savory seafood. Additionally, escalating public interest in sharks has created a booming ecotourism industry. Millions of dollars are generated every year through thriving shark tourism destinations from the Caribbean to the South Pacific.

Sharks are perhaps the most maligned and misunderstood creatures in the marine world. Before drowning in fear the next time you visit the beach, consider the many ways in which sharks make for a healthier world.

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