Friday, December 2, 2011

Save the Sharks

Right now, you're probably thinking, "Why should we bother saving sharks? They are mindless killing machines, out to hunt us." That's not true. Sharks are dangerous, that is true. But so are big cats. They are both smart, deadly, and dangerous predators. Most often the cause of a shark bite is that they are trying to see if we are edible. When they realize we aren't dinner, they swim away to find something else. Sharks are naturally curious but they, unlike humans, don't have hands to feel so they use their mouth. Unfortunately a small bite from a big shark can be deadly. But don't let this keep you out of the water! In truth, you are more likely to die from food poisoning than from a shark attack!

Now let's talk about how sharks help us. Without sharks, the ocean would be a big mess. Sharks eating carcasses helps keep the oceans carrion free and their hunting helps prevent over population. If, for example, white sharks went extinct. The seal colonies wouldn't have as many predators, so they would start to grow. Interbreeding and cramped spaces would cause illness. The sharks would have normally picked of the sick ones. Slowly the seals would eat all the available food and the chain of events would cause the food web to fall apart.

Okay, now that we have established why we need to save sharks, what exactly do we need to save them from?  The simple answer to that is humans. While sharks kill at the most 100 people a year, we kill over 7 million sharks a year! Sharks are apex predators so their slow reproductive rates can't keep up with this massive slaughter. Some sharks are killed for their jaws, liver oil, skin, teeth, and meat, most are killed for shark fin soup. This delicacy is most popular in China and Japan. It can cost up to 100 dollars a bowl! This soup is viewed as a social status; if you can afford it you are upper class. I have heard it isn't even that good!

To get the fins, finning vessels go out to sea and capture any shark they can.  Then they cut the fins off of the shark, sometimes while it is still alive and then throw the shark back into the ocean to die. This is a truly barbaric practice.

Sharks have been around since before the dinosaurs. There is no need for them to disappear for soup!

note: I do not own any of these pictures.

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