This brave marine biologist hopes to spread awareness about the importance of sharks
A marine biologist is sharing some amazing photos and videos of herself swimming alongside a great white shark — and it’s not hard to see why the photos have gone viral. As a conservationist, she hopes to spread awareness about the important role sharks play in our ecosystem.
Ocean Ramsey is a marine biologist and conservationist based in Hawaii. After sharing several photos and videos of the great white shark encounter she recently engaged in, her Instagram account is now the talk of the town. (Ocean?)
“I am without words and at the same time I think I never stop speaking up for sharks, I am grateful beyond measure for my experiences and what they have taught me,” she writes on Instagram. “This photo was taken yesterday off my home waters of Oahu, Hawaii when hey Shark I think I’ve met previously in Isla Guadalupe graced us with her big beautiful incredible presence.”
Ramsey says she’s been studying and working with sharks for over 15 years, and certainly doesn’t recommend that anyone just jump in the water with any type of shark — but especially larger ones.
“[They are] capable predators who need and deserve respect however they are not the mindless monsters they are portrayed as in the media as you can see,” she writes. “In my experience, this is the most mellow #whiteshark I have ever had the privilege and honor of meeting.”
Shark populations worldwide have been declining for years. Ramsey hopes her images with the great white will help shine a light on shark protection and the need for legislation against shark fishing and killing.
“There are currently no laws to protect sharks from being killed except for a ban on killing them for their fins,” she says. “And even that law has many loopholes.”
Ramsey says sharks “crave touch” and connection, and that if more people understood that, perhaps less of them would feel inclined to catch them and cut off their fins.
In terms of the ecosystem, sharks play a huge role. As “apex predators” (meaning these guys are at the top of the food chain), they maintain the species below them in the food chain and serve as an overall indicator for ocean health. According to Oceana.org, sharks help remove the weak and the sick while keeping the balance with their natural competitors to ensure species diversity.
According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Ramsey is actively trying to rally support for a measure to bathe n intentional killing of sharks. The legislation could be introduced in the state house later this month.
Ramsey hopes that sharks don’t disappear altogether before “people get to experience and know them for their true beauty and importance.”