Sharks are the ultimate apex predator, it is unfortunate that we as human beings have a fear of these beautiful creatures and are, on the whole, unaware of their importance to our own continuance of life through the generations that follow us. Hollywood movies such as the highly successful ‘Jaws’ has effectively shone the incorrect floodlight on the stars of the show. Yes, it is a fact that people do actually get injured by sharks, but get it into context….. How many people ACTUALLY get eaten by a Shark? I’m sure by now that the majority of you reading this article will know that you are more likely to die from a falling coconut than a Shark attack, yet we still have fear of this predator due to the incorrect depiction of them or by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Did you know that if all of the Sharks where to be killed then there would be no animal to control the growth rate of smaller predators? That’s good right? I mean more fish for us to eat and reducing the shortfall of our requirement for fish in our diet; Wrong!
Think of it like a pyramid, the Shark at the top, its prey beneath them in bigger numbers (lets say the grouper), their prey beneath them in even larger numbers (the parrot Fish) and so it goes on, all the way down to the little fellas such as Krill, algae and coral in their gazillions. Studies have shown that with the over-fishing of Sharks around Belize it created a Grouper population bloom, the knock on effect was the decimation of the Parrot fish whose active role in controlling the algae covering the corals became all but non-existent, therefore leading to a huge decline in oxygen quantities provided by the sea to the atmosphere.
Everything is in balance, if we upset the apple-cart and dispose of the Apex predator (A) then the next population level below will balloon (B), creating a huge dent in the population (C) beneath it until they are all but gone (like the Sharks). The smaller fish (D) that are usually the prey of population (C) now mass in numbers and decimate population (E), and so it continues until eventually we have nothing left. By the time we get to the bottom of the pyramid and no longer have fish to control the algae quantities, we end up with the corals being starved and no oxygen provided to Earths atmosphere.
Incidentally, the Oceans provide a huge quantity of oxygen to our atmosphere, anywhere in the region of 50-80% of the air we breath comes from the Oceans. If we lose the Sharks who have controlled OUR Eco-system for 450 million years then we may lose the human race.
If you like to partake in the odd Shark Fin soup then maybe have a chew on your partners ear instead. The fin you are eating (or not eating, just the broth) provides very little, if any, advantages as it comprises of cartilage. It is NOT going to make you more virile, there are little blue pills for that nowadays (which I’m sure your partner would prefer) and it is not going to extend your lifespan, there are many other pills for that nowadays too. The only outcome is that you are reducing the population of the most critically important animal on planet Earth. As for the surfers and swimmers who may get attacked, sorry but you’re in their playground and you know the risks before you get in or on the water. Educate yourselves and conduct your activities in an area that is known to be safer, therefore you are less likely to be hurt & ultimately not create the next mass hunt for Jaws Junior furthering the fragility of Earths Eco-system.
If you would like to show your support for Sharks and better our future generations then you can always be shark savvy with Shark Guardian and/ or get involved in a big event such as D-Day and Silence for Sharks where 500 divers plan to dive together in protest on October 22, 2017 in Eilat, Israel. Further details to follow on both of these subjects but in particular, if you have interest in the Silence for Sharks and are a Dive Pro shoot me a message for how you can really be #sharksavvy