Save the Sharks - During Shark week 2 million sharks will be killed

Save the Sharks - During Shark week 2 million sharks will be killed

Posted by Michael Starbuck on 9th Jul 2015

Ever since the release of Jaws in 1975, sharks have had an awful reputation. People who have very little chance of ever coming into contact with one are still extremely worried that they will see a fin appear from the water on their trip to the seaside. This fear may explain the reason as to why the destruction of the shark population goes largely unnoticed compared to the human caused devastation of other species.

Every year humans are responsible for the deaths of 100,000,000 sharks (Marine Policy Journal).

  • That's 273,973 per day
  • Or 11415 every hour

Humans kill 190 sharks every single minute. If that number was in relation to something that is perceived by people to be cute and cuddly, then change would have happened a long time ago.

The human threat to sharks is three-fold. Commercial fishing is the biggest threat, with shark meat, fins and cartilage all prized in certain countries. Bycatch from commercial fisheries is also a major problem. When these fisheries are targeting popular food sources such as tuna, they will inadvertently capture sharks in their haul and as they are an unintended catch, they will be thrown overboard either already dead or injured beyond help. The final issue facing not only the shark population, but the animal population in general, is habit degradation. Pollution, global warming and the destruction of areas such as reefs and mangroves are limiting the places sharks can live, breed, and hunt, which in turn means they are dying out and this is why we need to find a way to save the sharks before they die out.

With so many problems facing the 400+ species of shark around the world, it may seem like any attempts to help will be futile. This isn't true. Humans have caused the problems and humans can help to solve the problems. The hardest issue will be to halt the demand for shark fins, cartilage and meat in the countries where the desire to have them stems from. In most of these countries shark has been a source of food for hundreds of years, and this tradition will be a hard one to break. To help prevent bycatch a small change in shopping habits is necessary. Rather than picking up the first tin of tuna on the shelf, buy line caught as this eliminates the chance of a shark being unintentionally caught. The levels of pollution and climate change and the destruction of habitats around the world is not something that can be happen quickly or with a simple change to your shopping habits. It will take a lot of time to begin to see the damage humans have done being reversed, but if everyone around the world begins to make a concerted effort then change can slowly begin. Not littering, walking instead of driving and minimising waste can all help if done on a large enough scale. Clean oceans will result in a larger shark population.

The thought of a shark is scary to most, but the thought of no sharks should be a lot scarier to all. These powerful animals have survived five extinction events over the last 400 million years and yet if things continue as they are; it will be an entirely preventable series of events which will make the sharks go extinct.


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