AWARE – Shark Conservation Diver
Course Philosophy and Goals
The goals of the AWARE Shark Conservation Diver course are to inform students of the value of sharks to marine ecosystems and economies, to educate them about the causes of declining shark populations, to build an understanding of what is missing in current shark fisheries management, to dispel misperceptions that may block them from taking action, and to inspire them to help sharks by taking action. Use the AWARE Shark Conservation Diver course to turn your students into informed and passionate shark defenders who take action to protect sharks.
Sharks are crucial to marine ecosystems. They maintain a balance in populations of prey species and keep the ocean healthy by removing ill or diseased animals. They are an important resource supporting local economies through fishing and as an attraction to dive tourists.
But sharks are in a global decline. Overfishing has reduced many shark populations around the world to levels that threaten their continued existence. Shark numbers have fallen by more than 80% in many cases, and the continued existence of some species is at immediate risk in some regions. European sharks are particularly in danger with around one third of the species threatened with extinction, one of the highest levels in the world.
There are many actions needed to address these issues. Shark fisheries management is of primary importance, but trade restrictions and monitoring are also important. The AWARE Shark Conservation Diver course will contribute towards the conservation of sharks by building awareness of the issues and inspiring students to speak up and act to protect sharks.
Sharks in Peril and why we should care
Conservation status of sharks, why they are unique and vulnerable, and the importance of healthy shark populations.
- Explain the unique physical attributes of sharks
- Outline the conservation status of sharks
- Explain the life history traits that make sharks vulnerable
- Describe the importance of sharks to marine ecosystems
Managing threats and recognising values
How to manage threats to sharks. Recognising the value of sharks and removing barriers to conservation.
- State the major threats contributing to declines in shark populations
- Explain key management strategies that can protect sharks
- Communicate the value of sharks to local economies
- Describe common misperceptions of sharks and explain why these should not be a barrier to shark conservation