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Shark Devouring Humans Defy All Measures To Stop Them

Posted By Sarah Backhouse On June 6, 2008 @ 1:54 pm In G Living,Green Report / Media,Nature / Non Human Stories | No Comments

When sharks attack humans, it’s big news. But what about when it’s the other way around? Not so much. So let’s review the statistics: last year there were 71 “unprovoked attacks” made by sharks on humans which resulted in a single fatality. Compare that with the 100 million sharks killed by humans every year. Despite Spielberg’s best efforts, it seems sharks are the ones that should be afraid of us.

Research from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature reveals, “more than half the world’s ocean-going sharks face extinction in the near future.” And a lot of this boils down to…shark fin soup. Seriously. In Asia, shark fin soup is considered a delicacy and symbol of respect. That’s why a pound of shark fin fetches $300. Then there’s the superstition that shark cartilage cures arthritis and cancer, furthering the illegal poaching and price hikes.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has been slow to protect shark species, although things have improved somewhat since 2004 when the Great White and other more tourist-friendly species received some overdue attention. But is it too little too late? “Studies by scientists of Dalhousie University, in the Canadian city of Halifax, suggest that Atlantic shark populations have declined as much as 89% since 1972.”

Rob Stewart, director of Sharkwater eloquently puts it thus: “Our failure to protect the oceans is largely because we don’t see underwater exploitation the same way we see it on land. We waste 54bn pounds of fish every year, and all fisheries worldwide are expected to collapse by 2048. We are, however, capable of great change if made aware of the issue. We have turned the situation for whales around through public pressure, creating the International Whaling Commission. In the same way, sharks can be saved.” Certainly food for thought. Amid the gloom, there have been some small victories with Whole Foods Markets announcing it would stop selling shark cartilage products. Whole Foods sold shark cartilage products, who knew? Exactly.

(resources: guardian.co.uk / flmnh.ufl.edu)

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