Sharks: Dangerous or Endangered?

Sharkwater is a documentary available on DVD which highlights the plight of the shark. It’s a beautiful but disturbing account of our theft of the oceans and it exposes, amongst other related issues, the very cruel and inhumane practise of shark finning.

The film graphically shows what shark finning involves. Sharks are caught, their fins are mercilessly sliced off while they are still alive and gasping for breathe, then their bodies are thrown back into the sea where, unable to swim, they sink and die a slow and agonising death. Now although nobody in the world should be ok with this, clearly there are many thick-skinned hunters out there because it’s being done – on a grand scale. I’m not ashamed to admit that this made me cry and left me feeling utterly dismayed.

Although sharks are predators that occupy the top of the marine food chain and are seen to be man-eating monsters of the deep, their main concern really is just to dodge the nets and the harpoons in order to avoid being served up as an expensive delicacy in an oriental restaurant. Sharkwater seeks to counter the misguided images and bust the shark myth once and for all. It does this incredibly well. The ecological message is unmistakably clear and powerful. And very important.

But bad enough as it is, it’s not just the barbarity of shark-finning that we should be concerned about. As ever, humans are stomping over the world with no thought of consequences, just profits. And millions upon millions of sharks are being killed each year for profit. It’s important to realise just how vital the shark is to the marine ecosystem . . . and in turn to our own lives. Sharks are ecological stabilisers and if the shark becomes extinct (and there are very real risks of this happening to certain shark species), the consequences will be immense. You can learn more here and you can do more here. In the meantime, here are few little shark facts:

  • Shark specialists estimate that 100 million sharks are killed for their fins, annually.
  • One pound of dried shark fin can retail for $300 or more. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry.
  • Longlines, used in shark finning operations, are the most significant cause of losses in shark populations worldwide.
  • Shark finning is widespread, and largely unmanaged and unmonitored.
  • Loss and devastation of shark populations around the world. Experts estimate that within a decade, most species of sharks will be lost because of longlining.
  • Unsustainable fishery. The massive quantity of sharks harvested and lack of selection deplete shark populations faster than their reproductive abilities can replenish populations.
  • Threatens the stability of marine ecosystems.

Should we allow this barbaric ecological tampering just for soup?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Man as always trying to unbalance the balance of the natural ecology. If sharks weren’t there perhaps the fish of the oceans would come out to eat us. Ugh!

    I have but just one allergy: I cannot eat shark fin soup, it rightaway makes my skin rash and itch, so my interest is that the sharks be left in peace in their oceans.


  2. Absolutely Jose. If only everyone was allergic to shark-fin soup. Lol.


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