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Save Our Sharks: Becoming a Shark Angel

By Julie Andersen | Published On August 27, 2015
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Save Our Sharks: Becoming a Shark Angel

Julie Anderson Shark Saver Underwater Photo


A random encounter with a hammerhead led to one woman's lifelong crusade to protect sharks.

Courtesy Scubapro/Neil Andrea

Julie Andersen was honored as a Scuba Diving Sea Hero in 2012 for her work with Shark Savers

I have always been drawn to sharks. Their powerful grace and presence has fascinated me since we first met. Solo on a safety stop, I suddenly felt I was not alone. Much to my initial terror, a huge scalloped hammerhead appeared next to me. But gazing into the eyes of the animal, I saw life — not a cold, cruel stare. That day sealed my fate. This shark exemplified all that is beautiful on Earth: the extraordinary power of nature, and a vital reminder of what we must respect and protect.

Hooked, I traveled to dive in places famous for sharks. Everywhere I went, I saw the effects of shark finning. I quickly realized I was watching sharks disappear before my eyes. Fueled by passion, I sold my house and business to start Shark Angels, a nonprofit dedicated to giving the world a new view of sharks.

I spent years undercover documenting the heartbreaking destruction. I walked among 7,000 bloody sharks landed in a tuna fishery in Japan, and watched a starving fishing village in Indonesia fin the last of its baby sharks — having decimated the population.

Seven years later, I’m still fighting. And I am filled with hope. Together, we are making a difference. From passing legislation that makes shark fin an illegal substance to developing campaigns to stop the demand in Asia to educating thousands of children, Angels around the world are giving sharks a chance.

Anyone can become a guardian angel to the sharks. Lobby for their protection, vote with your dollars, volunteer, educate, go shark diving to prove their value — just get involved. After all, it’s not just about the sharks — it’s about the oceans and our collective futures.

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