May is Endangered Species Day, we thought it would be great opportunity to increase awareness of some aquatic species that are endangered and because we care deeply about conservation and protecting our planet's oceans.
What qualifies as an endangered species? Put simply, it is any species that is likely to become extinct, with additional sub-categories defining how close to extinction the species is.
North Atlantic Right Whale
North Atlantic right whales are baleen whales that each can weigh around 70 tonnes and length .
From whaling since the 1930s, despite protection, they continue to be at risk of being caught in fishing gear. They can only be located on the east coast of the USA and Canada.
Vaquitas are a sort of porpoise, and are currently the world's rarest marine mammals. This species is native to the Gulf of California, and was only found in 1958.
Regrettably, the population has plummeted due to illegal fishing, and it is thought that there are only around 30 of these mammals.
Like other species of sea turtle turtles are threatened by loss of habitat, climate change, and the collection of the eggs for consumption. Harvesting them for national trade still occurs in certain countries.
Turtles, called such for their pointed beaks that are narrow, are important in maintaining the health of coral reefs by removing predators.
Weighing up to 173 tonnes, blue whales are the largest. Each one has a heart the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.
The threats to their survival are chemical pollution, loss of habitat, and loss of food-supply. Due to climate change, their source of food,krill, has dwindled in numbers. Help the cause with a doorbell camera.
Endangered because of overfishing, the scalloped hammerhead shark has been targeted because of its fins, which are sold in the worldwide trade.
They were the first shark species to be protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which is one of the most powerful conservation laws in the world.
Green sea turtles can be found in subtropical and tropical oceans worldwide, and are named due to the color of the fat and cartilage rather than their color.
Their harvesting happens in many areas although there's an international ban on collecting the eggs of sea turtles. Whilst the species entire is listed as endangered, the subpopulation in the Mediterranean is endangered.
Reef Manta Ray
Surpassed only by the manta ray that is oceanic, reef manta rays are the second-largest species of ray. Hunting as well as being caught as bycatch threatens them.
Like lots of the species on this list, they are fished for due to their use in traditional Chinese medicine, instead of for their meat.
Unlike other sea turtles, leatherback turtles do not have bony shells, which is how they got their name. They are the species of all living turtles and can dive to depths of 1,200m.
The poaching of eggs remains a significant threat, particularly in Thailand although their population has increased in the southern region of the continent.
How Can You Help?
So as to protect our oceans, and the species at risk, we need to play a part. Through our Rescue, Breed, Protect projects, we have developed a system of care based on our marine biologists' findings and expertise. We run local and international conservation projects with our dedicated staff's experience.
You don't have to be a marine biologist to become involved. Our beach job in Blackpool runs so you can do your part by helping us maintain the oceans free of crap and plastic. Not only will you help to eliminate one of these threats but you will also get free entry to SEA LIFE Blackpool, as our way of saying thank you for your efforts.