Ocean Ramsey, The Shark Whisperer
On the outside, Ocean Ramsey looks every bit like the quintessential beach-bound blonde bombshell. And while her surfer-girl good looks have paved the way for various modeling assignments, she’s also a professional scuba instructor and diver. Dubbed “The Shark Whisperer,” she is most well-known for her work as a shark conservationist. Calling it her life’s passion and purpose, Ramsey doesn’t simply preach conservation, she puts her metaphorical money where her mouth is by swimming alongside sharks to raise awareness for their plight.
The Oahu, Hawaii native studied marine biology in college and has traveled the world working with marine life, including rays and, as of 2013, 32 species of sharks. The blond beauty admits that swimming with sharks isn’t only personally exhilarating, it’s an effective and striking visual means of showcasing her argument that sharks are widely misrepresented and misunderstood. In reality, sharks are very different than their “man-eating” portrayal in the media and popular culture. This inaccurate portrayal has contributed to widespread fear and misunderstanding about the animals, which has, unfortunately, contributed to a broad social ignorance of their importance. As a result, due to over-fishing, finning, and bycatching, where sharks are killed when other seafood is being targeted, many species are headed towards extinction if drastic measures are not taken.
As is befitting of her name, Ocean works to protect the ocean individually and through Water Inspired, the conservation organization she co-founded. She educates people on the vital role that sharks play in the ocean’s ecosystem. Throughout history, sharks have been one of the ocean’s foremost apex predators, meaning they have no natural predators of their own. Sharks have therefore been instrumental in the ocean’s food chain and balance of life. Should their numbers continue to become substantially reduced or eradicated, it will create a destructive ripple effect not only on their ecosystem, but the planet as a whole.
Although the prospect of shark eradication is as terrifying as swimming alongside them, it doesn’t take cojones and a diving cage to make a difference. Ramsey encourages everyone to support shark conservation, become educated about sharks, support organizations that protect them, and refuse things that promote and perpetuate shark poaching.