HUMANS hunted the ocean’s apex predator for decades and nearly wiped great white sharks off the planet for soup and sport, según los expertos.
Despite conservation efforts, the world’s great white shark population is down to about 3,500, which is significantly higher than the near-extinction numbers in the 1970s and ’80s.
Not coincidentally, the classic movie Jaws was released in 1976, which began the public’s fascination and obsession with sharks – mainly the great white – expert Chris Fischer told The Sun
“After Jaws, everyone went out and was trying to catch or kill every shark they could,” said Fischer, who founded the nonprofit research group OCEARCH.
Casi al mismo tiempo, the demand for shark fin soup skyrocketed and about 100million sharks were being slaughtered each year, said Fischer.
Fishermen captured sharks, cut off their fins and dumped their bodies back in the water, which stopped their ability to swim.
“It’s such a waste. It’s like cutting a bird’s wings off and sending it back out in the wild,” él dijo.
Sharks were on the verge of extinction about 50 hace años que
The decline was as high as 90 percent in extreme cases, according to OCEARCH’s Chief Scientist Dr Bob Hueter.
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“When you’re catching all these sharks and killing them, you cut off the reproductive cycle and the population collapses,” Fischer said. “That’s what happened with our white sharks.
“And they take somewhere around 20 years before they’re sexually mature and can mate and reproduce.”
SHARK WEEK IS THE MODERN-DAY JAWS
Shark obsession continued with the advent of Shark Week, an annual summer TV event that’s been running for more than three decades and seems to become more popular each year.
But some experts have criticized the series as a harmful attack on sharks.
Dr Lisa Whitenack, associate professor of biology and geology at Allegheny College, was the lead author of a study released in 2021 that outlined the negative effects Shark Week has.
“The public’s perception of sharks, shark science and shark scientists is heavily influenced by Shark Week,” she said in a statement.
“Desafortunadamente, we found that Shark Week programming focuses on negative portrayals of sharks and does not often accurately portray shark research nor the diversity of expertise in the field.
“While critics have been saying this for some time, we now have the numbers to back it up.”
THE US BILL TO PROTECT SHARKS
The US has banned the practice of shark finning in US waters, but there’s no federal ban on the removal and sale of shark fins once the fin is brought ashore.
A federal bill – dubbed the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2021 – that will soon be in front of both houses of Congress to close the loophole.
“Shark finning is the cruel practice in which the fins of a shark are cut off on board a fishing vessel at sea. The remainder of the animal is then thrown back into the water to drown, starve, or die a slow death,” the bill says.
“It is estimated that fins from as many as 73million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade every year.
“It is difficult to determine which species of shark a fin was removed from, which is problematic because some species are threatened with extinction.”
¿Cómo hizo esto?
The bill would have to be approved by the Senate and House before it goes to the president’s desk for a signature.
Until that happens, the loophole continues to threaten the shark population.