100 Millions sharks are killed every year to either end up in shark fin soup, in lubricant and vitamin A (oil from their liver), and leather. As sharks take a long time to mature to be able to reproduce and only give birth to a very few young at a time,some species are now on the brink of extinction. Sharks are a vital piece of the Ocean realm puzzle, as they are the one eating diseased animals, getting rid of potential epidemic diseases in other species. One could only imagine the absolute disaster and domino effect that would result to have such a crucial animal disappear from the earth fragile ecosystem. Most of all, what incredible impact it would have on our everyday life. Our Blue planet is so interconnected that destroying a specie is like shooting ourselves in the foot. Why has it taken us so long to finally get some attention on the matter? Well, it is rather simple and sad but true :Fear of the unknown. Depicted as a horrifying,mindless, blood thirsty, killing machine in the movie sensation “Jaws” by Spielberg (written by Peter Benchley) Sharks have become demons. In our general views, they are not apex predators but malign beings that await in the deep to jump on any human being and tear them apart in a blood bath, all of which following the rhythm of the two-notes-requiem made famous in “Jaws” original soundtrack.
I have personally dove with a few species of sharks including the movie star himself Carcharodon carcharias aka the great white shark. Truth is, it is far from being the blood thirsty killing machine from the movies, rather I found it to be a tranquil and beautiful animal. Sure its physique imposes respect (especially for the really girthy ones) but its efficiency in the water and its curiosity toward the underwater monkeys that we are, cannot be translated into malignity. My goal here is not to explain the behavior of sharks as I am not a specialist (ggoogle shark behavior, I recommend the great studies by Mark Marks with whom I had the chance to work with) and why certain species have been known to attack humans. My goal here is to argue the portrait that corporate media has a tendency to paint way to often to get attention from the general public.
The best way to get rid of our fear is to learn about this fabulous specie, I even encourage you to see for yourself first hand and dive with them. Although I am not a big fan of organized shark dives with extensive baiting, I believe it will help us understand sharks better and most of all get a hold of our fears.
With Shark Gone Will There Be Hope For Man?