Tiger Sharks are one of the most misunderstood species of shark to roam our oceans. An apex predator with an ability to both hunt and scavenge. From stingrays to mega-fauna such as Humpback Whales, there is not much that a Tiger Shark wont consume to survive.
Despite their relatively high position in the food chain, Tiger Sharks are remarkably cautious hunters. Interactions with humans are extremely infrequent and limited. The most common interactions are spearfishing encounters, generally in incidences where a fish has been captured and the Tiger Shark investigates the activity.
Why they must be protected
The importance of protecting Tiger Sharks is paramount to the health of the ocean. Their position as an apex predator in the food chain means that they exert a high degree of influence on the ecosystem that they are a part of. Removal of larger shark species from any ecosystem gives way to the domination of smaller reef species which in turn can decimate smaller fish populations and have adverse effects on the ecosystem around them.
From recreational fishing to commercial shark finning the Tiger Shark faces an abundance of human driven threats.
The average life span of a Tiger Shark is 50 years, during this time they can grow to over 5 meters long. Their slow reproduction rate means they are extremely vulnerable to rapid population decrease. With their presence in some areas already disappearing.
An eye for an eye
Despite having a level of protection in some parts of the world, Tiger Sharks are still caught and killed by government fisheries in countries such as Australia. 'Drumlining' has been introduced on both the Great Barrier Reef and Western Australia coasts with the aim to capture and kill Tiger Sharks along with other larger shark species.
'Drumlining' is a fishing method in which a large hook is baited with a sizable piece of fish in order to attract and capture large apex sharks. Once the shark is hooked, it will remain there for sometimes days on end. Slowly dying a painful death. This cruel practice was set up by the government to act upon a series of rare shark attacks that happened within Australia. Not only is it a cruel, inhumane practice, it targets no specific species and so far has captured mainly sexually mature Tiger Sharks and removed them from the ecosystem that relies on them.
In 2019 there were 64 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks across the entire planet. Within this number there were a total of 5 fatalities. If you count to yourself now how many of your family and friends swim in the ocean. Then add all of their family and friends. It is a testament to the shark that despite reduced fish stocks and a massive increase in humans entering the water. There is such a low amount of fatalities each year attributed to sharks.
Here at Protect What You Love, we believe that the unjustified killing of sharks needs to stop. The message is slowly getting out there, however we need your help to raise awareness about shark conservation. Education is the most powerful tool we can use, and we believe a fact driven discussion can change one persons perception.
By wearing one of our shirts you are joining our fight to change the unnecessary negative stigma behind one of the oceans longest surviving creatures.