Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How About We Simply Back Off Sharks

The new show Shark Men says its goal is to tag young sharks to track them and learn more about them. That is why they want to scout out shark nurseries, which by the way, is where they are most vulnerable.

The science part sounds good yet the show seems very close to the kind of shark sensationalism that undermines shark conservation.

It is a show after all, meaning it is designed to entertain, draw viewers, make money. Like Discovery's Shark Week, it might do more harm than good.

These kinds of programs feed into the shark-killing mentality -- the psyche of fear among so many people that sharks are terrible and dangerous beasts that must be conquered and killed. 

Through this blood lust, it is hard to hear that sharks are important predators and remain deeply threatened as tens of millions of them are killed every year.  The numbers for Great Whites are particularly grim. A recent survey published in the journal Current Biology, found only 219 great white sharks off the northern California coast.

And if they find the nursery, will they be able to keep the location secret?  

"If they have found a nursery, you would want to keep it protected from sports boats that might want to come down to Baja California looking for them as trophies," said Vincent Gallucci of the University of Washington, in USA Today

For great white sharks (and really all other fish), "not removing juvenile fish from the ocean is the key to a healthy population," Gallucci says. 'Equally important is protecting the source of juveniles, ' he adds, noting that rather being the fearsome hunters of the movies, young sharks are more often, the hunted, according to the story.

Read full story here.

Give me a break

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