Great White Sharks concentrate in large numbers in Bay Area waters during the month of October, but the Pacifica Beach Coalition wants the community to help our sharks, not fear them.
"Sharks have more to fear from us than we do from them," Pacifica Beach Coalition President Lynn Adams said.
At an evening held to celebrate their annual guests, local groups and advocates wanted to get the word out about the challenges facing many shark species.
Bay Area marine biologist David McGuire emphasized that fear surrounding shark attacks popularized by movies like “Jaws” and “Shark Week,” can hurt conservation efforts.
“Sharks are really important for the health and balance of the ocean,” McGuire said.
He said sharks keep the quality of fish species high by preying on the weakest.
Without them, he said, we are left with lower quality fish that are more likely to have diseases as well as an out-of-balance, overpopulation of hungry seals.
On a sailing expedition about 15 years ago, McGuire said he first learned the extent of damage shark finning has done to the population of sharks.
“I saw sharks being killed just for their fins," he said.
Nearly 100 million sharks are killed every year for their fins in "unregulated, illegal or unreported fisheries," according to McGuire.
McGuire wasn't the only ocean advocate highlighted at the Sharktober celebration.
A group of young activists shared the stage at the beginning of the evening to tells the audience about a mobilized kid force they're gathering to improve the health of our oceans.
Charley, one of the young members of Heirs to Our Oceans, said they are working on a documentary about how human treatment on the oceans will affect future generations.
A movement started “from the ground up,” Charley is excited to see it take off.