Sharks, jacks and groupers are among the top predators on coral reefs.
They provide a natural balance that helps keep the reef community healthy and stable.
Sharks have occasionally been known to attack people for reasons we don't fully understand. But experienced divers, fishermen and scientists know that sharks are not the man-eaters we often make them out to be. Unfortunately, these magnificent animals are being over-fished in many areas of the world. As a result, scientists are concerned that some shark species may soon appear on the endangered species list.
Sharks figure prominently in Hawaiian culture and are known generically as "mano". For some families, individual sharks may be considered guardian spirits or “aumakua”. Hawaiians use other sharks for food and tools. In ancient times, their skin was used for sandpaper and for drum heads, and their teeth were utilized in hand weapons and cutting tools.
Other large predators on the reef include jacks and groupers. Jacks or trevally, known locally as “ulua”, are a popular food and game fish. They are the most common predators on Hawaiian reefs. Groupers are among the largest fish residing on coral reefs. The giant groupers in this tank could reach 8 feet (2.44 m) in length and weigh over 800 lbs (363 kg).
|Blacktip Reef Shark
||Close-up of Blacktip Reef Shark