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The dangers sharks face are real
July 5, 2009 1:33 PM   Subscribe

1/3 of open ocean shark species faces extinction, according to the IUCN. A recent report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Shark Specialist group shows that nearly 1/3 of open ocean shark species face extinction. These sharks are essential to keeping ocean ecosystems in balance, and we've already seen some of the devastating effects of catastrophically decreased shark populations. Shark advocate Wolfgang Leander offers his thoughts on this crisis, and also provides the full text of an article about this IUCN report.
posted by WhySharksMatter (42 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
uh, welcome to this podium, David!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 1:45 PM on July 5, 2009


Well, your heart's in the right place at least.
posted by dead cousin ted at 1:47 PM on July 5, 2009


Tad soapboxy, but is overall good. Welcome to Metafilter. Very informative link, though if you'd post some more, it'd be intriguing to see more about this.
posted by kldickson at 1:52 PM on July 5, 2009


The devastation of the world's oceans is appalling -- comparable in extent or worse than what is currently happening on land; but different in that it is not so much habitat loss caused by people/cities/agriculture but outright killing of the animals.

In this, it is analogous to the wiping out of the North American bison, or passenger pigeon, or the European wolf, or bear .... and yet it is much much worse because we know what we are doing, it is measurable, and it can be changed. A big part of the solution is certification of wild fish stocks as sustainable, another big part is to be aware of all the insidious ways fish are killed and incorporated into products like fertilizer at your nursery, or pet food. Knowing the devastation it caused to the ecosystem, would you have bought buffalo tongues in 1890? Or pulverized buffalo to spread on your garden? Think about it.
posted by Rumple at 2:00 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


How awful is it that a I feel sad for sharks?
posted by SPrintF at 2:13 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


According to Wikipedia, the oldest generally accepted evidence of sharks is 420 million years old, and the modern forms of sharks go back 100 million years. That means the badass motherfuckers would have survived the Great Dying, in which up to 96% of marine species died out. I figure even the roaches must be feeling a chill looking at us now.
posted by fleetmouse at 2:29 PM on July 5, 2009


They thought they were tough just because they'd survived every mass extinction to date. We'll teach them some fuckin' humility.
posted by absalom at 2:37 PM on July 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


This is an interesting post--total soapbox, but apparently not a self-link. Hmm, flag or no?
posted by Decimask at 2:48 PM on July 5, 2009


MetaTalk.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:08 PM on July 5, 2009


Interesting article, but just the one link? We're gonna need a bigger post.
posted by permafrost at 3:11 PM on July 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Sharks? Those stuck-up pricks? With their redundant rows of teeth and their cartilaginous skeletons, thinking they're better than me. Fuck those guys.
posted by box at 3:31 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, the Jets aren't faring any better.
posted by The Bellman at 3:49 PM on July 5, 2009


I had no idea that some fishermen cut off the fins and toss the carcass back into the sea. I mean I can imagine it, but I've never heard of it, nor entertained the idea before. That's so offensive on so many levels. Who the fuck would condone such behavior?
posted by heyho at 3:52 PM on July 5, 2009


I'M A SHARK | I'M A SHARK
SUCK MY DIIIIIIIIII*hack* *cough* *wheeze*uhhhhhh.........
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:02 PM on July 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's so offensive on so many levels. Who the fuck would condone such behavior?

China, for starters.

I say cut the shark fin soup eaters' arms and legs off and toss 'em in the street.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:04 PM on July 5, 2009


I was reading an interesting article describing how damaging the "dolphin friendly" fishing technique is on the rest of the oceanic life.
"1 dolphin saved costs 382 mahi-mahi, 188 wahoo, 82 yellowtail and other large fish, 27 sharks, and almost 1,200 small fish."
As cute as dolphins are, they're not endangered-- and the sharks are. The environmentalists should really take a wider view on where their actions help and hurt-- If the average consumer was given the option of either one dolphin killed or 1,879 other creatures killed, I think we would quickly go back to the old follow a dolphin technique.
posted by Static Vagabond at 4:14 PM on July 5, 2009


I was reading an interesting article ...

FWIW, I believe that article was written by the OP.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 4:28 PM on July 5, 2009


Hi, friends!

I'm glad that this article is generating some discussion.

No, it is NOT a self-link. I was very careful in reading the rules. I did not write this article, nor do I work with the people who did.

Shark finning is one of the most wasteful fishing practices in the history of the world. Fisherman catch sharks of any species, gender, and size, cut off their fins, and dump the rest of the animal in the water to drown or bleed to death. It's brutal, unsustainable, and wasteful... and as you can see from the article, it's having a big impact on shark populations.

Some of you have asked for "more information". I'm happy to help, but what information specifically are you looking for? If you tell me I'll be happy to post it here or send it via mefi-mail.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 4:29 PM on July 5, 2009


Yes, YoBananaBoy and Static, the article that Static is referencing WAS written by me... but I was not the one who posted it to metafilter.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 4:30 PM on July 5, 2009


We're gonna need a bigger post.

Well played, permafraost.
posted by davebush at 4:32 PM on July 5, 2009


the badass motherfuckers would have survived the Great Dying

It's easy to get through a mass extinction or two when you're the one doing all the eating.

[NOT ANTI-SHARKIST]
posted by tylermoody at 5:10 PM on July 5, 2009


"It's easy to get through a mass extinction or two when you're the one doing all the eating."


Tell that to T. Rex, Tyler.
posted by WhySharksMatter at 5:24 PM on July 5, 2009




I'd say a good third of all ocean species are likely to be facing extinction. We have overfished the oceans so damagingly that they are essentially empty.

There was a time the coastlines were so abundant with fish that you could literally reach in and grab supper. Now fishing trawlers can go out for days and come back empty. It is horrifying.

Within our lifetimes we are going to see a complete collapse of the ocean ecology. It's going to become devoid of big fish species. Jellies will dominate the ocean.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:44 PM on July 5, 2009


fff: And then we'll set up a jellyfish fishery.

And when they've been fished out we'll figure out how to process cyanobacteria into something edible.

Because if there's one thing following the news about fish stocks have taught me it's that people will not stop fishing until they have brought about total collapse of whatever stock they're catching. And then they'll fish something else.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:53 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


> Because if there's one thing following the news about fish stocks have taught me it's that people will not stop fishing until they have brought about total collapse of whatever stock they're catching. And then they'll fish something else.

Sigh. Favourited for truth.

posted by Decimask at 6:25 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is why I have stopped eating seafood. Growing up in Newfoundland and watching the collapse of the cod stocks due to overfishing from everybody involved in the Grand Banks cod fishery, including the Spanish, the Portuguese and the Newfoundlanders, and the resulting mass unemployment has made me realize that the collapse of all of the fish stocks around the world is nearly inevitable. It is truly a tragedy of the commons and no one wants to be the first to limit their catch to the levels needed. The only thing I can do, as much as I like seafood, is not contribute to the market for seafood in any way.
posted by troll on a pony at 6:30 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shark persecution must end. After all, sharks just want to be hugged (about 30 sec. in for shark hugs).
posted by jabberjaw at 6:52 PM on July 5, 2009


I hate that we are over-fishing and killing our oceanic ecosystem.

The thing that really really scares me is the death of the plankton. Those little thingies supply something like 80% of the world's oxygen, I read somewhere. If those die, we can't breathe!
posted by lazaruslong at 6:53 PM on July 5, 2009


This is just another failing link. It seems that there are so many of them coming to pass. At this point in time it is clear that we have been foolish and may have placed our own ability to remain here in jeparody. In the next decade, with more analytical resources coming online, we will come to know that our place here is uncertain. I will shed no tears should we follow all the others of creation into the emptiness of extinction.

It's fitting.

I've refrained from sushi and seafood. My doing so will matter very little at this point.

The only thing remaining of us in time.... just our deep space explorers.... voyagers in the cold vast.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 8:34 PM on July 5, 2009


We need to get the hell off of this planet. The downside to that, of course, is that human contagion will be off the planet.

I'm torn on the issue of refraining from seafood. Or, frankly, doing anything at all about anything. Forgoing seafood will do absolfuckinglutely nothing: it is a token effort. Pissing into the wind. So why bother? Why the fuck bother putting oneself through any sort of deprivation?

Sometimes I just wanna say fuck it, and do everything that's harmful. It won't change the outcome one iota and at least I'll have enjoyed some fine meals.

Hell, if anything, participating in the destruction in a manner that makes it happen sooner rather than later might be good. The sooner it's all destroyed and fucked-up and gone, the sooner we'll have to actually deal with the problems we've caused. And dealing with the problems can't happen soon enough, IMO.

Bah.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:53 PM on July 5, 2009


I find it frustrating that so many folk are happy to do "oh, I could stop eating seafood, but hell, it won't do anything". Sure, one person doing that is pissing into the wind. Get enough people doing it though and you change the world.

Thank you for this FPP, whysharksmatter. Sharks are awesome, and it saddens me that you still get folk where I am (Queensland, Australia) who think we should be eradicating the Great Whites as a matter of course. They're a vital part of the ecosystem, and deserve to be conserved as much as the Sumatran tiger and the snow leopards. Even if they lack in the fluffiness department.
posted by Jilder at 1:11 AM on July 6, 2009


We can deal with the problems immediately by taking responsibility for our actions. As governments and business are without conscience on this matter, we can take up the mantle. If you are eating fish, only eat fish from the 'fish to eat' list from the Marine Conservation Society and make other people aware of the issue. Always ask where fish comes from.

Watch The End of the Line.

40% of global catch is processed into feed for farmed fish in rich countries. Do not eat farmed fish unless it is certified by the MSC or as organic (which should mean sustainable as well).

If you cannot live without the experience of eating shark fin soup, use shark fin melon which has the same texture. As shark fin is flavourless there is really no difference.

Why should our children suffer a denuded ocean due to our complacency?
posted by asok at 1:19 AM on July 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Forgoing seafood will do absolfuckinglutely nothing: it is a token effort.

This is just a lazy excuse for being selfish and not wanting to putting forth an effort for positive change. If you have no desire to make sacrifices for those that come after you, then be honest and just admit it.
posted by belvidere at 3:48 AM on July 6, 2009


Oops. "...and not wanting to put forth an effort..."
posted by belvidere at 4:00 AM on July 6, 2009


There's also Shark Savers.
posted by snofoam at 6:24 AM on July 6, 2009


heyho: I had no idea that some fishermen cut off the fins and toss the carcass back into the sea...
I know, it shocked me when I first saw a film of fisherman dumping live shark back into the water (don't video search for "shark fin soup"), I had always though that the rest of the shark was used for something and that the poor creature was dead when the fins were cut off. I've eaten shark fin soup exactly once, when I was very young and watching a shark fishing documentary fifteen years later made me ill. I would never have tried it had I known.
To be honest, it wasn't even that tasty, you ain't missing a thing.
posted by dabitch at 6:47 AM on July 6, 2009


Dont get me wrong: I eat local, organic, etcetera as much as possible. And it's pretty easy around here: I live where there is a lot of farming going on.

But I don't think it is making a damn bit of difference. It can't. It's like removing a grain of sand from a beach: completely, utterly unnoticeable.

And if you think otherwise, I'd sure love to see some evidence that you're right. All I see is our global ecologies being raped to death with sick glee.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:03 AM on July 6, 2009


Why is it permissible for a blog to copy an entire article? Is there something wrong providing an intro comment/summary, and linking to the source?
posted by asfuller at 9:52 AM on July 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem is that our technology is so powerful, but our respect for other life forms is so weak. Sure, we have to eat. But we don't have to dismiss all other organisms as mere instruments for the achievement of our own desires.
posted by No Robots at 9:57 AM on July 6, 2009


The answer to this and a zillion other things, is less people. We must immediately move to a negative population growth rate,
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:59 PM on July 7, 2009


There are about a billion people starving to death right now. There is a highish probability of a pandemic wiping out another billion. Global climate weirding is likely to wipe out a bunch more.

Chances are we're going to see some massive population reductions, regardless our feelings about it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:59 AM on July 8, 2009


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