The thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) is named this way because it has a long tail, the size of its body, which makes it resemble the continental mammal. But the famous tail, that is used to hunt, by whipping and stunning the fish, has attracted its destiny of endangered species: it is hunted to meet the demand of raw material for shark fin soup.
Statistics show that the population of thresher shark has declined due to unsustainable fishing in the Indian Ocean region by 70-99%, in the Pacific Ocean area by about 80%, in the Atlantic Ocean by 70-80%, and in the Mediterranean Sea to 99%.
Although shark populations are declining, it is still not too late to change the trend. Only international cooperation through measures to protect and educate the masses, starting at government level and through dedicated institutions such as CITES and CMS, could encourage the recovery of declining populations.
Beyond the economic cost – coming from the fishing and tourism industries – that could be caused by the disappearance of sharks, the main loss could be devastating as it would lead to the suffocation of the planet ocean through the uncontrolled growth of algae and the complete disappearance of marine ecosystems. Moreover, it is known that the ocean regulates the carbon circuit on the planet. Coastal ecosystems store about 50% of the existing carbon in marine plants. If sharks would no longer feed on the fish that consume these plants, it would release significant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, accelerating the global warming process that we are still powerlessly experiencing anyway.
We strongly believe that the attitude of the JAWS generation must be changed and every little gesture can be a big step.
How can you make the difference here in Romania? Simple: study and convince yourself that sharks are not a danger to humanity, but it is even the opposite: we depend on the species. Discuss with others and help them understand this. Promote this behavior and stop eating / buying shark products: from shark cartilage supplements, to meat present in stores (attention to toxic substances!), to souvenir shark teeth, eating fin soup or the discouragement of any practice leading to the killing or injury of these creatures.
The shark’s disappearance is not just dead fish but collapse.
Any small step can make the difference. Listen and convince yourself!
Sources: Wikipedia, IUCN Red List, PEWtrusts, sharksider.com
Author: Claudia Milea