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Surprising Facts About Shark Fishing

Natasha Bantwal
Despite efforts being made to stop shark fishing, it is still the number one cause for the dramatic decline in the number of whales and sharks in our oceans. So, are our efforts to stop shark fishing and to fund shark conservation organizations, enough? Find out.

Purpose Behind Fishing for Sharks

Shark decimation caused due to shark fishing is a worldwide problem. Yes, there are a handful of small organizations out there that are dedicated to coming up with various campaigns to prevent this kind of fishing. But, there are very few large conservation organizations, or even the media who are talking about the sharp decline in sharks.
Orangutans and panda bears are so cuddly and cute and when they call out for help, the dollars start pouring in. Sharks on the other hand are looked upon as ferocious monstrosities that patrol surrounding coastlines and surfing beaches, just waiting to eat people. The truth however, could not be farther than this.
We donate thousands of dollars to save animals like tiger, lion, etc., from becoming extinct. Why not do the same for sharks? Like tigers, sharks also invoke in us the same feelings of fear and awe.

Issues with Fishing for Sharks

This incidence has indeed become a very serious problem. Since nature has blessed sharks with a very low reproductive rate so that they don't overwhelm the reefs that they are meant to protect, this same low fecundity is actually what threatens them today.
This low reproduction rate in sharks makes their extinction loom closer as they are unable to cope with the demand of the shark fin soup trade in the Far East. Owing to this, their numbers have plummeted by a shocking 98%! In the last 15 years itself. It has been estimated that nearly 100,00 tons of shark are being removed each year all over the world.
The first warning sirens of shark extinctions have only now started to be publicized, but there is still no serious media involvement or airtime given to the subject. If this situation continues for some more time, it will soon be too late.
Actions needs to be taken now, and it needs to be done fast. The oceans and marine life receive less attention than their land-inhabiting counterparts perhaps because they are not easily accessible and filming the cruelty shown towards sharks and other forms of marine life is not as easy.
Many articles state that sharks are the top of the food chain without really explaining any further as to why they are on top and what would be the effects is they were removed from the top.
It is impossible to save a particular ecosystem without saving those that lie at the top of the food chain, and similarly, it isn't possible to save those lying at the top of the food chain without saving the ecosystem.

Harm to the Ecosystem

Studies have shown that if sharks were all removed from the food chain, then the predators lying in the middle would become too predominant and the ocean reefs would become overwhelmed by these species, as a result of which the reefs would suffer greatly. And, the health of the reefs is what we need to be concerned about the most.
The reefs are considered to be the lungs of the oceans, as they are the home to many different Microsystems - a home within a home. This is where most species of fish are born, and this is where they grow up unhindered by the lurking dangers of the great oceans.
In damaging the reefs, we are more or less damaging our oceans. In engaging in shark fishing activities, we are directly damaging these reefs systems over which the sharks hunt.

Steps Taken

Many organizations and protesters state that more protection is needed for our sharks. If you hear about the atrocities that they are subjected to, you'll probably never touch seafood again.
Many sharks are caught, finned and then thrown back into the waters still alive, to die a slow and painful death. Banning this act won't give the sharks any respite. The fishermen will still continue to fish for sharks even if this is outlawed, all they have to do is keep the body on board and the numbers of these creature will continue to decline.
It is however, very unlikely that we will get a worldwide ban, but the least we can do is stop ourselves from ordering shark meat and shark fin soups when we go out for dinner. That is the least we can do.