The productive coastal waters around Sanibel and Captiva are an important place for many species of sharks. They come to feed, to mate, and to give birth to their young — and we are very fortunate to have them here. Most sharks are apex predators that help keep our coastal ecosystem in balance. A decline in their populations can cause cascading effects down through the food web, and can greatly impact the stability of our other local fish populations.
But in order to keep our shark populations healthy, we as a community need to better understand them, and then in turn protect them. Fear and misinformation need to be replaced with education and stewardship, just as our community has done for all of the other wildlife that we share our islands with.
To understand just how much sharks matter and how they are misperceived and mishandled, our CEO Ryan Orgera wrote a powerful commentary to launch our Shark Conservation Campaign in honor of 2020 Shark Week. Before he came to SCCF, Ryan worked globally for The Pew Charitable Trusts on shark advocacy. Now, he's brought his childhood love of sharks back to Southwest Florida, where he grew up, to advocate for local sharks as well.
We have compiled the most important local information on sharks to educate our community on the actual data related to shark encounters, encourage best practices for safe catch-and-release fishing, and offer guidance on how to advocate for healthy shark populations. By educating yourself about our local sharks, you are taking the first big step in helping to ensure their survival, and consequently, the betterment of our local ecosystems.
We encourage our local anglers, beachgoers, and the entire community to stay informed about sharks; these amazing animals certainly deserve our respect and stewardship.
Download a Shark Card with best fishing practices.