10 Best Charities for Protecting Sharks (Complete 2023 List)

10 Best Charities for Protecting Sharks (Complete 2023 List)

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Carla Shaik

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Sharks are some of the most ancient, powerful, and majestic creatures in the world. They have been on this earth for over 450 million years and have survived 5 mass extinctions. Yet, today, 75% of all shark species are threatened with extinction due to overfishing, the illegal wildlife trade, and shark-human conflict. Fortunately, charities worldwide are fighting to save sharks and change public opinion about these animals. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for protecting sharks?

The best charities for protecting sharks are the Shark Trust and Shark Stewards. Charities such as Shark Angels and Sharks4Kids focus on educating the public to create the next generation of shark conservationists and to instill a love of sharks. 

Whether you want to improve conservation management plans for endangered shark species, inspire the next generation of shark conservationists, or change the public perception of sharks, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for protecting sharks are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Did you know that you can also help protect lions by giving yourself the gift of a shark-tracking bracelet? Next to the bracelet, you’d get learn about your shark’s name, size and get their picture, gain knowledge of their amazing stories, where they came from, and be able to follow their incredible voyage on an exclusive tracking map. All in partnership with Saving the Blue, to where a portion of all proceeds are donated. You can find out more here: www.myfahlo.com/shark-tracking-bracelet/

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Protecting Sharks Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate all over the world, from North America to the UK, protecting vulnerable shark species. 

Many of these charities focus their efforts on formulating plans to prevent overfishing and population damage from the shark fin trade. Others focus their attention on educating communities and young people on the importance of these animals in balancing vital marine ecosystems. Yet they all share the same goal; to ensure that sharks continue to thrive in our oceans for generations to come.

These Are the 10 Best Charities for Protecting Sharks in 2023

Below are our favorite charities for protecting sharks:

  • The Shark Trust
  • Shark Stewards
  • Shark Angels
  • WildAid
  • PADI Aware Foundation
  • Sea Save Foundation
  • Saving the Blue
  • Atlantic White Shark Conservancy
  • Sharks4Kids
  • Galapagos Whale Shark Project

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

The Shark Trust: Safeguarding the Future of Sharks

The Shark Trust was founded in 1997 by a small team of passionate individuals in Plymouth, UK, to safeguard the future of sharks and their close relatives; skates, rays, and chimera. Today, the charity is an international organization working to protect these endangered species through advocacy, fisheries management, and responsible trade initiatives. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, the Shark Trust spent 88% of their expenditure on charitable activities, 9.8% on EEA conference costs, and 1.9% on fundraising and publicity.

“A future where sharks thrive within a globally healthy marine ecosystem.”

The Shark Trust

What they do: The Shark Trust works with governments, the fishing industry, scientists, and like-minded charities to create a better future for sharks through advocacy and conservation planning. For example, the charity co-authored the Angelshark Action Plan which outlines guidelines to protect Angel sharks from overfishing across its entire range. Furthermore, the charity produces and distributes Commercial Fisheries Advisories in the UK, EU, and internationally to control fisheries management by providing up-to-date information on the current legislative status of sharks, rays, and skates. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Shark Trust has influenced over 100 nations to create positive change for sharks by improving conservation efforts and strengthening vital legislation. For example, they successfully advocated for the addition of 100 sharks and rays, including Tiger and Blue Sharks, to CITES Appendix II, meaning that trade must be controlled to avoid unsustainable use. This is significant because these species represent 85-90% of the fin trade. In addition, they pushed for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to agree on the world’s first population-wide fishing quota for highly endangered shortfin mako sharks.  

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Shark Trust on their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a member of the organization or by joining their Big Shark Pledge campaign. 

Shark Stewards: Saving Sharks from Extinction

Shark Stewards was founded in 2006 as a project of the Earth Island Institute to protect sharks and their ocean habitats. Today, the charity is an international organization working to save sharks from extinction to balance ocean ecosystems and mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Shark Stewards is a project of the Earth Island Institute which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. The charity also holds a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Saving endangered sharks from overfishing and the shark fin trade, and protecting critical marine habitat.”

Shark Stewards

What they do: Shark Stewards works to protect sharks on an international level through advocacy, scientific programs, and the implementation of marine protected areas. For example, they work with the State of California Ocean Protection Council and the Department of Fish Wildlife to identify key threats to local shark populations and set up protected areas along the North Central Coast. Moreover, the charity runs expeditions to their Greater Farallones Marine Sanctuary to allow members of the public to get up close and personal with sharks and learn more about them. They are also working to expand the sanctuary’s cover and support the creation of no-fishing zones in the Pacific

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Shark Stewards has remained dedicated to eliminating the threats that face vulnerable shark populations. For example, their advocacy efforts were vital to the passing of the US Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act 2021 to ban the buying and selling of shark fins in America. Furthermore, their National Marine Sanctuary System now consists of 13 sanctuaries and 3 Marine National Monuments, including the Greater Farallones Sanctuary which covers 3,295sq miles of ocean

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Shark Stewards through their website. You can also support the charity by symbolically adopting a shark or by getting involved in a beach cleanup

Shark Angels: Educate. Inspire. Connect

Shark Angels was founded in 2007 by Julie Anderson to show the world a new perspective on sharks after she dived with Tiger and Lemon sharks alongside cameramen in the Bahamas. Today, the charity tackles issues facing sharks around the globe by empowering the public through education and science. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Shark Angels spent 53.3% of their income on charitable activities and professional fees and 44.7% on fundraising and outreach. 

“Turning fear into fascination and passion into action.”

Shark Angels

What they do: Shark Angels inspires the protection of sharks around the world through advocacy and innovative education programs. For example, they bring real-life shark experience and conservation knowledge to homes, schools, and community events through their online education programs and resource library. They also run shark diving expeditions to inspire the next generation of shark conservationists and to change public perception of sharks, including a virtual dive for those not ready to take the plunge. In addition, they launched their Shark free initiative to educate the public on products that contain sharks and how to avoid them.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Shark Angels has successfully made shark fin illegal for over 160 million people around the world. Furthermore, they have donated over 7,000 hours of shark education to vulnerable communities and helped to establish the world’s largest shark sanctuaries in Palau, the Bahamas, and Fiji. In addition, the charity has gone undercover in over 20 countries to expose the illegal shark fin trade and promote change. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Shark Angels on their website. You can also support the charity by symbolically adopting a shark or by purchasing merchandise from their online shop

WildAid: Protecting Wildlife, Reducing Demand

WildAid was founded in 2000 by Peter Knights to reduce the demand for products that harm our world’s wildlife, including shark fin. Today, the charity is dedicated to eliminating the illegal wildlife trade worldwide through advocacy and localized conservation efforts. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: WildAid has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“When the buying stops, the killing can too.”

WildAid

What they do: WildAid works to combat the illegal wildlife trade, including shark fin, through advocacy and by increasing support for local conservation projects. For example, they are campaigning to reduce shark fin consumption in China and Thailand by changing customer attitudes through education. Furthermore, they are encouraging local businesses to not produce or serve shark fin soup, including airlines and hotel chains, through their Global Shark Pledge. Furthermore, they are training patrol teams in Palau and the Bahamas to reduce poaching and overfishing which have negatively impacted local shark populations. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, WildAid has successfully reduced shark fin consumption in China by 80%, causing the financial value of shark fin to drop by around 60% per kilo in 3 years. Furthermore, their Global Shark Pledge has been adopted by dozens of companies including Four Seasons Hotels, Cathay Pacific, and Asiaray. In addition, in 2021, their media campaigns to persuade the public to not buy illegal or unsustainable wildlife products, including shark fin, were viewed more than 584 million times. In the same year, they increased fishing vessel detection by 275% to reduce illegal fishing practices around the Galapagos Islands. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to WildAid through their website. You can also support the charity by joining a WildAid expedition or by attending one of their educational events

PADI Aware Foundation: Local Action. Global Impact 

The PADI Aware Foundation was founded in 1992 as part of the world’s largest scuba diving organization, the PADI Foundation, to drive local action for global ocean conservation. Today, the charity is dedicated to cleaning up our oceans and protecting endangered marine species, including sharks. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The PADI Aware Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator as well as a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Addressing the key threats facing the marine environment.”

PADI Aware Foundation

What they do: The PADI Aware Foundation works to promote balance between humanity and the oceans through advocacy and education, including the conservation of shark species. For example, they mobilize the world’s largest network of dive centers to conserve coral reefs by following guidelines that promote a sustainable diving and snorkeling tourism industry through their Green Fin program. In addition, they engage the public in their Citizen Science program to record whale shark sightings around the world to further concentrate conservation efforts. Furthermore, through their community grants program, they award grants to scientists and communities who are working on projects that address ocean health issues such as climate change, pollution, and the establishment of marine protected areas. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the PADI Aware Foundation has secured protective measures for over 50 species of sharks and rays around the world through their advocacy efforts. For example, they have reported 94,946 sightings of 17,559 sharks through their Wildbook for Sharks initiative. This information will be used to improve conservation efforts for these species. Furthermore, in 2013, the charity successfully advocated for the EU Parliament to close loopholes in the EU Shark Finning Ban and strengthen the legislation. In addition, the charity has removed over 2 million pieces of debris from our oceans

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the PADI Aware Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their online store or by enrolling in an AWARE Shark Conservation Speciality Course

Sea Save Foundation: Tackling the Threats Facing our Oceans

The Sea Save Foundation was founded in 2003 by Georgienne Bradley to save our oceans and all its inhabitants, including sharks, through education and advocacy. Today, the charity documents problems and comes up with solutions to the most pressing issues facing our oceans. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Sea Save Foundation has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Striving to protect oceans by raising awareness about the beauty of marine ecosystems and their fundamental importance to human survival.”

Sea Save Foundation

What they do: The Sea Save Foundation utilizes scientific data to educate and influence the public and key decision-makers to improve conservation measures across our oceans. For example, they advocate with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) to secure more robust protection for vulnerable marine species, including sharks and rays, by attending international meetings. Moreover, their Give Em the Fin campaign provides the public with the opportunity to learn more about sharks and to discourage the consumption of shark fin soup. In addition, the charity actively protects the waters surrounding Cocos Island from poachers, a world heritage site that’s home to some of the most endangered shark species in the world. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Sea Save Foundation has remained committed to protecting the vulnerable species that live in our oceans, including sharks. For example, in 2020, they were integral to the implementation of a complete shark fin trade ban in Florida. Furthermore, in 2021, they successfully encouraged the US Senate to pass the bipartisan Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act that will close all remaining loopholes in the legislation that allow shark fin sellers to operate in America. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Sea Save Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or by joining one of their campaigns.

Saving the Blue: Dedicated to Change

Saving the Blue was founded in 2018 by Dr. Tristan Guttridge and his wife Annie to conserve the ocean and all of its inhabitants, including sharks. Today, the charity is dedicated to protecting and restoring vulnerable marine life through research, education, and by promoting the benefits of green living.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Saving the Blue has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“To recover and restore a variety of threatened marine species while connecting people to ocean wildlife. We aim to promote green, sustainable living through education and outreach; both in person and online.”

Saving the Blue

What they do: Saving the Blue conducts scientific research to advance our understanding of endangered marine species, including sharks, to improve conservation efforts. For example, they are studying the movements and social behaviors of threatened Silky sharks to reduce population declines caused by intensive commercial fishing practices in the Northwest Atlantic. They also educate the public on how to live more sustainably by discouraging the use of single-use plastics and by promoting sustainably sourced seafood products. Furthermore, they conduct classroom visits across the US and the Bahamas to provide students with the knowledge they need to participate in saving the marine environment. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the vital research conducted on endangered shark species by the Saving the Blue team has been featured on a range of high profile channels including National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and the BBC to raise awareness. Furthermore, they have donated over 5,000 educational books to children on Andros Island, the Bahamas, to inspire them to learn more about local shark species and conducted multiple beach clean-ups across the Island. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Saving the Blue through their website. You can also support the charity by joining a research expedition or by purchasing items from their online shop.

Did you know that you can also help protect lions by giving yourself the gift of a shark-tracking bracelet? Next to the bracelet, you’d get learn about your shark’s name, size and get their picture, gain knowledge of their amazing stories, where they came from, and be able to follow their incredible voyage on an exclusive tracking map. All in partnership with Saving the Blue, to where a portion of all proceeds are donated. You can find out more here: www.myfahlo.com/shark-tracking-bracelet/

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy: Inspiring White Shark Conservation

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) was founded in 2012 by Cynthia Wigren to support shark research and conservation after she came into contact with these animals on diving expeditions. Today, the charity is working to change the perception of White sharks in the Northwest Atlantic through education and research. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Support scientific research, improve public safety, and educate the community to inspire White shark conservation.”

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

What they do: The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy studies the movements and behaviors of White sharks across the North Atlantic to promote a more peaceful coexistence between humans and these large predators. For example, they developed the Sharktivity app to raise awareness of the presence of White sharks around Cape Cod and South Shore towns to improve public safety and determine critical data points. This information is then used to formulate conservation management plans for the species and reduce shark-human conflict in the region. Furthermore, they run education programs for schools and communities to improve knowledge and understanding of White sharks. 

What they’ve achieved: Today, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy provides the most comprehensive publicly available information on White sharks in the Northwest Atlantic. To date, they have tagged and tracked 268 White sharks and the information is available for the public to view. Furthermore, since 2013, they have provided funding for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries studies to get a more accurate picture of White shark movements in the waters off Cape Cod to reduce human-shark conflict. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy through their website. You can also support the charity by symbolically adopting a shark or by shopping through Amazon Smile.

Sharks4Kids: Promoting Shark Education

Sharks4Kids was founded in 2012 by Jillian Morris to bring shark education and awareness into classrooms. Today, the charity is committed to creating a new generation of shark advocates through a range of educational resources and experiences. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Sharks4Kids holds a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Bringing together scientists, educators, conservationists, and professional videographers to create a unique opportunity for the next generation to learn why sharks need kids and kids need sharks.”

Sharks4Kids

What they do: Sharks4Kids inspires the next generation of shark enthusiasts and conservationists through the provision of educational materials and experiences. For example, they offer free downloadable lesson plans for teachers of children from Grade 1 up to high school on shark biology and conservation. Furthermore, they conduct classroom visits across the US to dispel the myths surrounding sharks. In addition, the charity is conducting on-the-ground research around the Turks and Caicos to determine the migratory patterns of the near-threatened native populations of Lemon sharks. As part of the project, they involve local students to give them a real-world view of these animals and inspire a love of sharks. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Sharks4Kids has spread awareness of sharks to 155,000 students in 60 countries and 49 states through their in-visit and online education courses. For example, in 2022, the charity visited 8 schools and 2 after-school clubs, reaching around 500 students with their week-long outreach tour along Great Abaco Island, Bahamas, to educate them on the importance of shark conservation. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Sharks4Kids through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their online shop or by volunteering.

Galapagos Whale Shark Project: Protecting the World’s Largest Shark Species

The Galapagos Whale Shark Project was founded in 2005 by Johnathan Green to tag and study Whale sharks around the Galapagos Archipelago. Today, the charity gathers data on the movements and behaviors of endangered Whale sharks to better understand them and to formulate more effective conservation plans. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Galapagos Whale Shark Project has a Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“To protect the world’s largest gentle giants from extinction.”

Galapagos Whale Shark Project

What they do: The Galapagos Whale Shark Project researches the endangered Galapagos Whale Shark to raise awareness of these enigmatic creatures and improve their chances of survival, which have dramatically declined due to hunting and overfishing. For example, they fit individuals with satellite tags and perform tissue sampling procedures to better understand the movements and population size of Whale sharks around the Galapagos Islands. This information is then published to help researchers and governments to formulate targeted conservation plans for the species. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Galapagos Whale Shark Project has remained committed to raising awareness of Galapagos Whale Sharks to prevent their extinction. For example, they have produced a TV documentary, Galapagos: Realm of Giant Sharks to increase public knowledge of these animals. They have also been featured in David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series. Furthermore, in 2021, the data they collected from the project was used to establish a new marine protected area, including the marine corridor between the islands of the Galapagos, Ecuador, Cocos Island, Costa Rica, and Panama. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Galapagos Whale Shark Project through their website. You can also support the charity by joining a Galapagos Shark Diving Expedition or by following them on Facebook.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for protecting sharks. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to protecting sharks – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Carla Shaik

Carla is passionate about animal welfare and our natural environment and is on a mission to give you the knowledge you need to help protect our planet and all of its inhabitants. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, is a teaching support officer at the College of West Anglia, and also works as a cat sitter in her local community. Aside from writing, she has a love of music, teaching her daughter how to play piano, and enjoys getting creative with craft activities.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

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