Global FinPrint initiative, aimed at protecting sharks, backed by Vulcan Inc.

Kramer Phillips By Kramer Phillips | 5 years ago

Shark week is right around the corner, and people all across the country will be whipped into a frenzy as all-new footage of the ocean’s deadliest fishes hits the airwaves. According to a report from Mashable, however, a new project backed by Vulcan Inc. takes an interest in sharks that goes further than airing sensationalized attack reenactments.

The Global FinPrint initiative, a research survey designed to collect essential data about sharks’ ranges and habitats, was announced by the private investment company, run by Microsoft founder Paul Allen. It seeks to assess the risks posed to shark populations by overfishing, pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction.

Vulcan Inc. also recently backed the Great Elephant Census, which sought to address the rapidly dwindling elephant populations in Africa. Allen tweeted, “I’ve seen the impact of the Elephant Census, and now I’m supporting the Global FinPrint initiative to help save sharks.”

The company invested $4 million into the initiative, which will support established shark researchers working to build a comprehensive worldwide conservation program.

Research about the rapidly dwindling shark populations throughout the world’s oceans is spotty, and nobody can say for sure what the main reasons are. The initiative will survey sharks and rays across coral reef ecosystems over the course of three years.

The survey will cover over 400 locations across the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Little is known about sharks, and the fear created by this misunderstanding often results in cruel attitudes towards the animals. Sharks are an essential component of ocean ecosystems, managing the food web from the top and keeping fish populations in check.

Almost 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year, and the survey will offer vital information about what kind of impact this has on the overall health of the world’s oceans.

Given that fewer than five humans are killed by sharks each year, the least we can do is try to understand them better.