It’s a new “first” for Bonaire, and it’s part of an international effort to give protection to the sharks which inhabit the waters of Bonaire, as well as all the Dutch Caribbean islands, and even Holland itself. “Shark Week” will begin on Saturday, August 22, 2015, and there’s activities all week that will offer educational and fun things to do.
For some background information, it’s long been acknowledged that a healthy shark population equates to healthy reefs, as apex predators, such as sharks, keep other reef species genetically “fit.” In other words, the hardy survive and continue to breed, while those which might be a little weak, normally do not survive to breed. But, unfortunately, since the days of the movie, Jaws, the hunters of the world’s oceans have become the hunted.
It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed each year in commercial fisheries, and it’s thought that this is a conservative estimate. This represents a rate of fishing about double the rate of reproduction, which is why the world is seeing declines in most populations for which data exist. These populations for which we have detailed information, are called “assessed” species, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened or near extinction assessed species includes 27 Caribbean species, of which six species are found in Bonaire’s waters (bull, blacktip, Caribbean reef, tiger, lemon, and whale sharks).
Bonaire, along with Holland and other Dutch Caribbean islands, are formally beginning an educational effort to increase shark awareness. Next week’s launch will bring some fun get-togethers, but also the airing of educational videos. View Shark Week’s schedule by clicking here (available in PDF), and be sure to stop by and become aware! (Source: STINAPA)