Dr Mahmood Shivji with the Guy Harvey Foundation penned an outstanding Op Ed this week:
For the longest time after the 1975 blockbuster “JAWS” gave us a spine-tingling ride, there was an often used saying that “the only good shark is a dead shark”. This man- against-beast thriller and its many progeny shark horror flicks still pervade the public’s psyche, anointing all sharks as human-eaters and keeping many beach-goers out of the ocean.
The public and media’s morbid fascination with sharks as killing “machines” continues today. There is a steady stream of media coverage when fishers catch and drag back a large shark for photo-ops. In some minds, catching and killing a large shark is almost heroic and fashionable, and a testament to man’s superiority in the “battle” against the beast.
Meanwhile, the enormous toll taken on shark numbers worldwide due to indiscriminate fisheries continues unabated. All this shark killing causes some to wring their hands in anguish about longer-term ecological impacts. Others say “what’s the big deal if sharks are killed?”
Who’s right? Should we care if many of the oceans large sharks are exterminated? Is there really enough of an impact on the marine environment to worry about?