The 'Jaws' Effect Still Impacts Humans And Sharks Today

The 'Jaws' Effect Still Impacts Humans And Sharks Today

Don't go into the water.
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We've all heard it. That all too familiar "dun nun" that increases in speed and volume until it concludes in a loud bang. We all know what it means, that the big, scary shark has sunk its teeth into the innocent swimmer and pulled her into the depths of the ocean. After 40 years, "Jaws" still has a major impact on ocean conservation and public beliefs regarding sharks. With more and more people coming into contact with sharks, it is time the public finally realizes how many problems the "Jaws" effect has had on these marine predators.

"Jaws" launched Hollywood into a killer shark feeding frenzy. At least 50 monster shark movies followed, including three more "Jaws" movies. Unfortunately this trend wasn't left in the 20th century and over half of the 50 movies listed were released after 2000. In fact, a new killer shark movie has been released every year since 1998. 2016 continues this trend, with "The Shallows" starring Blake Lively having been released this past week. The latest shark thriller features Lively fighting for her life against a cunning and strong willed predator. The sad fact is, even in 2016, we can't seem to stop painting sharks as manipulative and cruel creatures intent on eating any human in their vicinity.

All of these movies feed off of the fear that "Jaws" started. "Jaws" capitalized on the public fear of sharks following the rise in human/shark interactions. With the increase in shark attacks, people lauded the film that gave them both a monster shark and an experienced hunter that killed it. The blockbuster depicted sharks as predators with the ability to remember and stalk specific humans, even after multiple days had passed. Many viewers soon feared going into the ocean and an even greater fear and prejudice against sharks. Fisherman began going shark fishing in large groups and shark catching tournaments sprung up all over the U.S. coastline. The population of many shark species all around the U.S. have declined 50-90 percent since the release of "Jaws" in 1975.

Sharks reproduce at a very slow rate, with most not beginning to reproduce until after 15 years of age and only giving birth every other year. With such low reproduction rates, the shark population has struggled to keep up with the rapid decline of their numbers. While many conservation organizations have made huge leaps in raising awareness for the status of the shark populations worldwide, their circumstances continue to deteriorate.

The over fishing of both sharks and their prey is forcing these hunters to move closer to shore and closer to humans. With increased shark sightings and the continuation of the demonizing of sharks in Hollywood, conservationists are going to have to work overtime to save this integral part of the marine ecosystem. Many places still have a large shark fin and meat market, making shark hunting a valuable trade.

So sharks, don't go into the water.

Cover Image Credit: Live Science

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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5 Ways We Can Help Protect Marine Life That Will Make You Say 'Shell-Yeah'

It is serious!

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Marine mammals such as dolphins, whales, and seals have captured the hearts of millions of people all over the world. But if we're not careful about how we treat their environment, they may not be around for much longer.

Here are some ways you can help protect our marine life friends!

1. Be beach-friendly. 

Whether you are at the beach to surf, swim, or just relax, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks or coral. If you really want to make a difference, start patrolling the beach area, and help pick up any trash you see lying around. Maybe even see if you can gather a group of people who will do it with you!

Also, don't take wild fish or hermit crabs away from their homes! They're not likely to live very long if they're taken away from their natural habitat. Also, never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water- a practice that can be very harmful to them.

2. Use fewer plastic products. 

Plastic can end up as ocean debris, which contributes to habitat destruction and entangles and kills tens of thousands of marine animals each year.

Many marine animals (such as sea turtles) mistake plastic waste for a viable food source, sometimes causing blockages in their digestive system. Though the declining sea turtle populations in oceans are due to a variety of reasons, plastic pollution plays a significant role. They eat things like jellyfish and are very likely to mistake a plastic straw for a jellyfish snack.

Also, don't ever release balloons- just pop them and throw them out. If you release them, they are a danger to marine wildlife who can accidentally swallow them because they mistook them for food.

3. Limit activities that can alter an animal's environment. 

Worldwide, dolphins face a variety of impacts that threaten their very existence- most of which are impacts of human activities. In recent history, the Yangtze river dolphin was declared extinct due to its river habitat being obstructed by the building of dams and the invasion of boat traffic.

When you are in the animals' natural habitat, be careful not to leave behind or do anything that could cause serious harm to their environment. Clean up after yourselves, and don't leave behind fishing wires, hooks, trash, or anything else.

4. Advocate for oil spill clean-up. 

Going along with the above statement, oil spills can be caused not only by equipment breaking down but also by people making mistakes or just being careless. Oil spills into rivers, oceans, and bays are often caused by accidents involving tankers, pipelines, storage facilities, drilling rigs, refineries, and barges.

Most oils float, so the animals most affected sea otters and sea birds that are found on the sea surface or on shorelines if the oil comes ashore. During most oil spills, seabirds are harmed and killed in greater numbers than any other kinds of creatures. If heavy oils get into the feathers of birds, they may die of hypothermia for losing their ability to keep themselves warm. This same effect is observed with sea otters. Sea otters can easily be harmed by oil since their ability to stay warm depends on their fur remaining clean. When oil remains on the beach for a while, other creatures, such as snails, clams, and terrestrial animals may suffer too.

Many light oils, such as gasoline and diesel, are considered to be toxic. They can kill animals or plants and they are also dangerous to humans who breathe their fumes or get it on their skin.

Go online to learn more about oil spills, and what you can do to help!

5. Lesson your carbon footprint. 



Because of ocean acidification, global warming has been a hot topic in the ocean world. When acidity of the ocean increases, it can cause devastating impacts on marine life, including plankton, corals, shellfish, and the animals that eat them.

The vast majority of the air we breathe comes from the oceans. That's why we say "if the oceans die, we die."


Marine mammals like the vaquita dolphin (only 30 left in existence due to illegal fishing in the Gulf of California) are not much different than humans. They know when they are in trouble, and they get scared.

Start researching online today to see how you can help!

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