Sharks are the apex predators of the ocean, and this week is a week filled with education, celebrations and stories from survivors about their encounters with sharks. But are humans the number one menu item for these animals like the movie Jaws make it seem? Nope! But sea turtles are on their list of prey.
For about 65 million years, sharks and sea turtles have been living together in the oceans. While sea turtles do not have many predators unlike many other marine animals, sharks are their main threat. However, sharks do play a vital role for our oceans. They keep populations of smaller marine species from overpopulating, creating a balanced ecosystem.
With sea turtles already having a natural predator in the ocean, it is vital that we ensure that their interaction with humans is a positive one and not a negative one. Thousands of turtles are caught in fishing nets or marine debris every year. Most of these turtles become so entangled that they starve to death or strangle themselves and cannot get out.
Also harming sea turtle populations is illegal poaching. Despite there being laws to protect sea turtles in most countries, the illegal trade of eggs, turtle shells, and meat continues to be a threat.
This shark week, remember that turtles should only have one predator they need to keep away from - sharks - not humans.