For her second “Scared for Sharks” PSA, “Mad Men” star January Jones joined Oceana in Belize to swim with the largest fish in the ocean: the whale shark.
Last spring, I traveled with Oceana to Belize’s Gladden Spit Marine Reserve to photograph and film whale sharks for the new "Scared for Sharks" PSA. It was my second time swimming with sharks, so I wasn’t as nervous, especially since whale sharks, like most sharks, are not a threat to humans.
It’s humans, in fact, who pose the greater risk to sharks because of our insatiable desire for shark fins, shark livers, shark teeth and every other shark product you can think of. Scientists say that tens of millions of sharks are killed every year for their fins, which is directly causing some shark populations around the world to crash.
This is devastating news because sharks are not only amazing wildlife, but also critical players in healthy marine food webs – reefs, rocky outcrops and undersea ridges all have something in common when they are in good condition – lots of sharks.
Following my first “Scared for Sharks” PSA in 2009, I came to Washington, D.C. to talk to Senators Tim Johnson, Frank Lautenberg and John McCain about the need to protect sharks. With their backing and Oceana’s persistence, the Shark Conservation Act was signed into law in January. This law ensures an end to shark finning in the US.
Now is the time of year when whale sharks aggregate in large numbers around the Belize Barrier Reef, so Oceana and I are using this time to call for increased protections for sharks around the world. We can all do our part by taking action at www.oceana.org/scaredforsharks.
You can catch January Jones in “X-Men: First Class”, which hits movie theaters June 3.
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