Fintastic Friday: Giving Sharks a Voice
Also known as
Fintastic Friday: Giving Sharks, Skates, and Rays a Voice
the second Friday in May (since 2011)
Fintastic Friday: Giving Sharks a Voice was created by WhaleTimes, along with help from the Shark Research Institute. WhaleTimes director Ruth Musgrave got the idea for the day when she was writing the book Everything Sharks. She thought the view of sharks should be updated, as their survival was essential for the survival of all ocean species. She believed they needed a new voice and that kids could be that voice. Rightfully, the day celebrates and raises awareness for sharks, and is geared towards children. It encourages them to get involved in shark conservation efforts and to help change public opinion about sharks—from fear to appreciation and from hate to love. Not only is the day dedicated to sharks, but to other elasmobranchs like rays and skates as well.
How to Observe
The creators of the day have the goal of getting kids to help sharks by encouraging them to let others know they care about them. They have suggested the following ways for kids to celebrate the day:
- Put up shark conservation signs to make certain areas "shark conservation zones."
- Draw your favorite shark, skate, or ray. Try to make it as lifesize as possible, sign it, and have your friends sign it. Then, send it to your favorite scientists to thank them for the work they do to save sharks. Some scientists who have dedicated their lives to sharks are listed further below.
- Have a "Sharks in the Park" party. Use your voice and a sign and attend a rally. Make your own "Sharks in the Park Rally Sign."
- Take the "Fintastic Friday Fin Pledge."
- Create some WhaleTimes Awesome Shark Art.
WhaleTimes suggests children learn about some people who are working to save sharks. Some scientists and some "citizen scientists" that WhaleTimes recommends learning about include:
- Dr. David Ebert of the Pacific Shark Research Center has identified many of the world's 520 sharks and has also traveled the world looking for lost sharks.
- Rachel Graham is involved with MarAlliance.
- Dr. Dean Grubbs of the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory spends much of his focus on deep-sea sharks.
- Dr. Johann Mourier has been involved with the Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution of Fishes Laboratory and has done other research of sharks.
- Jackie and Graham Hall created Manx Basking Shark Watch because the basking sharks off the coast of the Isle of Man weren't being studied or protected.
- Jason Holmberg, along with other scientists, made software that could identify whale sharks by their spot patterns. They then created whaleshark.org which collects whale photos.
There's no reason why grown-ups can't celebrate the holiday as well. One way to do so could be to become involved with a shark conservation group. You could also read a book about sharks or watch a documentary about them, and share with others what you have learned.