Sharks are essential top-down managers of ocean ecosystems.


We need sharks

There are so many different shark species — from the 40-foot-long whale shark to the 9-inch pale catshark. They inhabit every ocean on this earth and are essential for maintaining a healthy ocean environment. Science clearly shows us that when we remove large predators, like sharks, entire ecosystems destabilize and can collapse over time.


Sharks need us

Scientists estimate that 100 million sharks are killed every year.  Although they have lived in the seas since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, they are not able to withstand the pressures we are currently placing on them from these unsustainable fishing practices. Most large shark populations have been drastically reduced in number, and some have been fished out of existence.


The Florida Aquarium to the rescue

In 2013, the Aquarium decided to tackle how to ensure sustainable populations of sand tiger sharks in managed care, as well as in the wild. They are important to our Aquarium because they help us tell our visitors the story about the importance of sharks. They thrive in the habitats we provide and are a favorite among our visitors and our team given their calm demeanor around humans.  We focus on these areas:

Tagging and setting up acoustic arrays to track their movement in the wild

Ensuring safe handling and transporting of sharks by teaching them behaviors and creating state-of-the art equipment

Creating a shark network of Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) collaborators to share animals and information

Learning the keys to sand tiger reproduction

Educating our community and visitors about sharks

We believe in working together

We enjoy a deep and rich collaboration with:

  • North Carolina Aquariums
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions
  • South-East Zoo and Aquarium Alliance for Conservation Research

Our work matters in expanding shark conservation and awareness

Our sand tiger research and shark awareness efforts are all part of a very urgent need to stop the indiscriminate killing of sharks and to restoring shark populations in the wild.  Please appreciate sharks and support our work.