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Hunters Become the Hunted

Shark fishing has caused a colossal decline in shark populations.

Photo by John Garza

There are many hunters that inhabit the world. In and out of the ocean, and all over. They're everywhere. Ensuring the world isn't overran by population inflation, every predator has a part to play, and in doing so, this gives the Earth a sense of balance. Unfortunately, hunting comes with some consequences when the hunters are also hunted. Humans are the most apex of all predators, the most skilled at hunting, and render the least remorse when it comes to killing. It's getting out of control, and starting to kill off one of our most prized jewels of the ocean: Sharks.

Yes, we've all seen the movies. You know, where the sharks are going on a killing spree. Actively hunting and eating humans, sometimes destroying vessels to devour the crew aboard. It's the same movie, over and over. Unfortunately, the media has created this stigma that sharks are mindless and incredibly violent. This hysteria started in 1975 when Jaws hit the theaters, and a panic swept through coastlines everywhere. The movie was loosely based on a string of unorthodox shark attacks along the northeast coast. Many claim that the shark was injured or experiencing pain, causing it to attack humans. The same type of behavior has been witnessed in animals such as lions and elephants.

The hysteria caused a swell in a newfound sport, shark fishing. It grew in popularity as people set out to catch sharks, especially as there were even people who offered rewards per head—and even more if they caught the shark responsible for possible attacks. Many people started mindlessly killing just because they thought it was the right thing to do, to protect the beaches they loved, but unbeknownst to them, they were doing the exact opposite.

In the following decades, shark fishing has caused a colossal decline in shark populations. Many species saw a decline in population of up to 50 percent—some even 90 percent. The shark experiences fatigue when being reeled in while it's putting up a fight to stay away. Many times, this results in the death of the shark, unfortunately. Despite being the predators they are, they're very fragile creatures.

What happens when the sharks aren't released back to the water? People are killing, eating, and finning sharks. Most of the time, people that take the time to kill the shark are probably going to eat it. Should they though? Shark meat contains mercury, and in many cases, the mercury levels are so high it's 10 times the "safe" level of consumption for humans. Let that sink in next time you think about trying something different. Also make sure that you know what you're buying from the store. Shark meat has many aliases when it comes to the seafood section at the store. Unfortunately, the sale of shark meat and shark fins is legal in Florida.

Shark finning is the number one problem sharks are facing right now. As it is definitely a huge issue in the United States alone, Asia tops the charts in it. An estimated 100 million sharks are dying a year due to this horrific act alone. Imagine all the other sharks that are dying due to illegal fishing, killing, and pollutants in our oceans. For anyone that doesn't know, shark finning is the act of cutting a shark's pectoral, dorsal, and caudal tail fins, rendering it immobile and usually discarded back into the ocean fighting for it's life. It's so detrimental that we work together as human beings to protect something so important to our ocean.

There are so many reasons to work towards the preservation of these beautiful creatures. I think right now spreading awareness and educating people about what's currently happening in the world is very important. Sharing the numbers and the sad truths that are hard to see. Letting the world know that SHARKS ARE NOT MONSTERS! I genuinely hope that anyone that this blog reaches will take the time and efforts to educate themselves somehow.

Photo by John Garza

In a world with so much wrong, let's do something right for once.


#SaveTheSharks

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