Shark Trust Patron - STEVE BACKSHALL

Shark Trust Patron Steve Backshall © Andrew Aitchison.

"The EU is a global fishing power: of the 280,000 tonnes of sharks reported landed globally in 2012 (roughly equivalent to the weight of 21,000 double decker buses), the EU fleet was responsible for almost 40%. The vast majority of these landings were caught in the Atlantic Ocean. Landings simply can’t go on increasing at this rate without consequences: Porbeagle and Spiny Dogfish populations provide a sobering example, as overfishing has so severely reduced these populations that they are now listed as Critically Endangered in the Northeast Atlantic.

My reaction to this devastation is first of all visceral and emotional. These animals have been around on the planet for over 400 million years. They have more that is unusual and fascinating about their biology than any other animal group, and are the most unfairly maligned of all creatures. However, the reaction must also be scientific. If the world’s oceans have had nearly half a billion years with sharks as the apex predators, then the delicate balance of its food webs must rely on their presence, in complex ways we cannot possibly predict. Lose the sharks, the mighty, mysterious lords of the deep, and our planet’s oceans would be infinitely poorer places – and that’s why I’m supporting the Shark Trust’s No Limits? campaign."

Steve Backshall joined the Shark Trust as a patron in 2014 and is an ambassador for our No Limits? campaign, which was launched to stop uncontrolled shark fishing.

Steve is one of the busiest presenters on television, mainly working for the BBC’s Natural History Unit. He has had his own season of programmes on Eden television channel and, before that, was ‘Adventurer in Residence’ at the National Geographic Channel.

Steve now fronts the BBC kid’s series ‘Deadly 60’, travelling the world to learn about the most inspiring predators. He’s been squirted with ink by Humboldt squid, flirted with by tarantula, charged by elephants, and stared out by thresher and Great Hammerhead Sharks, but still maintains that wild animals pose no threat to people – in fact quite the opposite.


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