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.

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 really allow this barbaric ecological tampering just for soup?

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6 Responses to Sharks: Dangerous or Endangered?

  1. matt says:

    Yes, I’ve heard of this practice for serving up this far eastern ‘delicacy’. But then they enjoy so many don’t they; monkey’s brains being another. Doesn’t really sit with being Buddhist does it.

    Sharks are amazing creatures, not least for the fact that they’ve been around since before the dinosaurs. Real survivors. But for how much longer?

  2. earthpal says:

    Yes, they are amazing creatures. If you get chance to watch the film, please do. It’s well worth the time.

    The Japanese do like their seafood delicacies. Unfortunately, all this overfishing of our oceans is having quite an impact.

  3. keithsc says:

    That’s appalling. A bit like elephants being hunted for their tusks. Totally barbaric. But to leave them alive to sink and slowly die. There is no way that can be justified. It’s great you’ve guided us to where we can act on this issue.

  4. matt says:

    And here’s some direct links within the Stop Shark Finning Campaign;

    Finning FAQs

    Hong Kong is the world’s shark fin trading centre, accounting for an estimated 50% – 80% of all fins traded worldwide. Currently the EU supplies 27% of all fins imported into Hong Kong.

    If you eat fish only eat seafood approved in the MCS Good Fish Guide.

    Join the Shark Trust.

  5. earthpal says:

    Hi Keith, yes it is appalling. The DVD is very informative – and disturbing too at times but it is also beautiful.

    Thanks for the extra info Matt. It’s all very useful in the fight against this extremely cruel and stupid practise.

  6. the Grit says:

    Hi y’all,

    All more or less true, but it’s only to be expected given our massive over population. It’s happened in North America repeatedly where, as our population grew faster than our Governments could keep up, we exterminated or almost wiped out several species. What a shame the people at the United Nations don’t bother to read up on history.

    the Grit

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