Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I just finished watching a documentary called “Shark Water”. A friend of mine told me that this was something I needed to watch, as it would be an eye opener to the horrible practice of Shark Finning happening all around the world.
Little did I know how deeply it would affect me! Not only how it would affect me, but after looking into this subject a little deeper, eventually it will effect us all, whether or not we know about it or not.
First off, let me fill you in on what Shark Finning is and why it’s such a problem.
Shark Finning is the process in which sharks are taken from their habitat and have their fins cut off. This is not done in a humane way. Once the fins have been removed the sharks are then dumped back in to the ocean to die slowly. Most sharks will take days to completely die. It’s a slow, cruel and painful death for these sharks. Because they are left without their fins, they cannot get water to run through their gills which enables them to breathe. If they don’t die by suffocation, they are either eaten or bleed to death.
Why are people killing sharks for their fins??
Some people believe that sharks are a cure for traditional diseases and that because sharks have a tendency to have strong immunities against most diseases that humans suffer from and sharks are resilient against some parasites then they are some magical creature that can help to prevent people from contracting deadly diseases if we consume their fins (silly right?).
There is NO scientific proof that eating shark fin will have ANY positive impact on a persons susceptibility to things like cancer or arthritis. Shark fin soup is also a very popular delicacy in a lot of Asian countries particularly China. A bowl of shark fin soup can typically cost over $200. One pound of dried shark fin can cost upwards of $300. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. You can see why so many people keep it quiet.
Now for the shocking news:
It’s estimated that sharks are being wiped out at an alarming rate – up to 90% of sharks. It’s also estimated that 100 MILLION sharks are killed for their fins annually. At this rate we will have almost no sharks left within a decade.
This is a scary thought. Sharks are one of the top predators in their ecosystem. Without a top predator controlling an eco system you get a big shift within that ecosystem. It will have an effect on all below it. Seeing as though the majority of our oxygen comes from the ocean. Maybe we should stop to think about what might happen to us by disturbing this ecosystem?
Like many cases of animal cruelty and exploitation, it its incumbent on us to act on behalf of these magnificent creatures. It comes as no surprise to see victims of shark attack recently appeal to the Australian Government to act on the world stage to stop this cruel and needless practice. These animals cannot ask for our help, they cannot walk in to a cop shop or a court room and tell someone what is happening to them on a MASSIVE scale. They cannot protest, they cannot beg for mercy, they cannot create awareness to help SAVE themselves.That’s our job.
What do we want future generations to think of us after we have wiped out certain species, burnt all the fossil fuels, desecrated the oceans, destroyed ecosystem, polluted the air, the soil and the water, all the while knowing what we’re doing?
What will happen to humans if we keep on fishing for sharks?
What can we do to help stop this type of thing from happening?
Ways to help:
• Contact with Wild Aid, the Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace and other groups
• Petition and contact politicians and Government agencies
• Create awareness where ever you can.
Talk to friends and family members about this. Ask what they would do, how can they help?
Interesting Shark Facts:
• Sharks have been around for more than 400 million years
• There are 375 shark species
• Sharks are intelligent and can be trained
• 100 million sharks are killed each year for their fins
• The largest shark is the Whale shark, averaging 9 metres (30 feet) in length—the size of a large bus
• Whale sharks are not aggressive. They eat zooplankton, small fish and squid.
• When a shark loses a tooth, a new one grows in its place
• Mako and Blue sharks are the fastest swimming sharks
• Sharks can take hours or even days to die after being finned
• Sharks are a critical part of marine ecosystems
I’ll lave you with an extract from the movie. Said by “Captain Paul Watson” He sums it up like this:
"I think the problem is, that we don't understand what we are. In essence we're, uh, you know, just a conceited naked ape, but in our minds we're some sort of divine legend and we see ourselves as some sort of god, that we can just walk around the Earth deciding who will live and who will die, and what will be destroyed and what will be saved. But the fact is, we're just a bunch of primates out of control.
We're now in the midst of a Third World War, but this time the enemy is ourselves and the objective is to save the planet from ourselves. There is no hope for the masses of humanity to do anything. They never have, they never will. All social change comes from the passionate intervention of individuals or small groups of individuals.
Slavery wasn't ended by any government or any institution. Women got the right to vote not because of any government. The civil-rights movement, the same thing- India with Mahatma Gandhi, South Africa with Nelson Mandela. Again, it's always individuals. You need those individuals with the passion and the energy to get involved. In fact, I don't know of any governments or institutions that are doing anything to solve any of these problems. All over the world, though, I am seeing individuals and non-government organizations that are passionately involved in protecting ecosystems and species, and that's where I see some optimism that's where results are happening."