Sharks Need a PR Team by SC

A sleek fin emerges from the water and cuts towards a an unaware swimmer, speeding up slightly the owner of the fin heads straight forward and it looks like blood will be shed soon. Just as the shark hits the swimmer’s leg it turns and runs the length of its body along his leg and vanishes into the blue, leaving the swimmer unharmed, and with one hell of a story to tell his friends. Sharks are actually incredibly docile creatures, and almost all of shark “attacks” are them just trying to figure out what you are, and seeing as the have no hands the best way to feel you out is their mouth. On average vending machines kill more people by falling on them than sharks do by attacking people, and hippos are by far the deadliest animals to humans on earth killing nearly 2900 people a year, so why do sharks get a bad rep? They are the last true super predators left in the sea, invincible to all but the largest and most cunning of sea mammals like Orcas, and of course us. Unfortunately due to our fear shark populations around the world are declining rapidly, and only we can stop it.

Shark populations across the world are in trouble, with some species such as the scalloped hammerhead having their population decrease 89% in the past 15 years. Why is the population declining? Sharks trapped in fishing nets, overfishing for shark fin soup, and the general degradation of the health of the oceans. The death tolls are staggering, with nearly 100 million being killed every year for just their dorsal fins. With such a huge decrease in numbers we are beginning to affect the health of our oceans. The problem with removing such a huge number of super predators from the ecosystem is that fish populations will skyrocket and consume all of the phytoplankton available to them, and move on to coral reefs. With 65% of the world’s oxygen being produced by these plankton the ramifications would be deadly for nearly every species visible to the naked eye.

Swimming in the waters of the Bahamas a Tiger shark makes its way around a small bay along with other tiger sharks, and they don’t seem to be doing anything. Whats even more interesting is that 70% of these sharks are females. For years nobody knew why why female tiger sharks grouped up in such disproportionate numbers until a group of researchers from florida decided to finally look into it. As it turns out many of these females are pregnant and come to the calm waters of the bahamas to give birth. This is why tiger sharks have such a bad reputation, because when the sharks are pregnant their hormone levels skyrocket and they become very defensive. The interesting this is that tiger sharks have the lowest levels of testosterone out of any shark in the world making them inherently less aggressive than other sharks. The only reason that these sharks are ever seen as being aggressive is because they are protecting themselves and their unborn pups, because otherwise these sharks are relatively calm and prefer much deeper water than people usually swim in.

How can we fix this problem? Spread awareness, make people aware that sharks are not nearly as dangerous as the media makes them out to be. Volunteer at an aquarium or a conservation group and help out. The biggest issue that sharks face is their reputation, and because of this it can be easy to help people understand that they are just another creature in the ocean, and while they still are dangerous and deserve respect, they definitely do not deserve to be hunted to extinction. Frequent diver Verena Robinson puts into words just how amazing a shark encounter is: “I once saw a tiger shark while diving in hawaii and it was one of the most amazing experiences in my life, it was so huge and it simply did not care that we were there. For the first time I realised that we are not the top of the food chain, in fact we are so far down from him that he didn’t even give us a second thought and just floated right past us. Encounters like these are part of the reason why sharks must be saved” having an experience like this is something all of us should enjoy someday, but if we don’t act fast we could lose the opportunity.

Advertisements

Accidental Destruction by T.B.

One of the seven wonders of the world is officially dead.

The Great Barrier Reef was pronounced dead this year due to the fact that more than 30% of the coral is no longer living. The ocean is dying at an alarming rate and humans are the reason. We are killing off species, pumping garbage into the ocean, and not looking like we are going to stop any time soon. We are so reliant on the ocean that when it dies so will we. However it is not too late for the ocean and the human race.

Many species of dolphins, whales, manta rays and many more are extinct or on the verge all because of unnecessary human interaction. We are hunting and killing them to the point where they cannot, as a species, recover. Research shows that over 95% of dolphin deaths are directly attributed to man-related causes. At this rate it is estimated that Maui’s dolphin population will be extinct by the year 2030 if drastic changes are not put into place. Japan’s killing of whales and dolphins is leading to an insane plummet in both of their populations. In some countries the people sell these  animals and depend on them to keep their families afloat. In indonesia people hunt and kill manta rays for their gills only because that is an extremely valuable item there but these actions have put the manta rays on the endangered list.

Marcie Brewster encountered ocean pollution up close and personal. The self proclaimed ocean enthusiast grew up near the ocean and bay in Point Pleasant New Jersey. When asked if she ever encountered pollution she told me that it happened on multiple occasions. “It’s known as the armpit of America” she said referring to the ocean she grew up swimming in. Later she went on to explain how in 1991 a new york medical center took their waste a few miles of shore and dumped it. It then proceeded to wash up on shore in a giant heap of syringes and vials. When asked if she experienced any pollution up close she explained how pollution caused stinging jellyfish to infest the bay in her backyard. “I think it was because of the lawn fertilizer… I used to just dive off the barge and swim around, now I can’t without getting stung by multiple jellyfish”

There are many things we can do to help save the ocean and ourselves before it is too late. Reducing your energy use is extremely helpful, fossil fuels and carbon dioxide get released into the atmosphere but eventually get absorbed by the ocean. Most researchers and scientists just viewed this as another great aspect the ocean offers but it comes at a cost. When the ocean absorbs those gasses it leads to a more acidic ocean which kills the coral, marine life, and the bacteria. So by reducing the amount of energy you will help the ocean tremendously. Another easy thing that helps our ocean is using less fertilizer. This will also reduce the amount of pollution that enters the ocean and kills almost everything. The most important thing you can do just so happens to be the easiest: tell a friend. By telling a friend you are raising the awareness of the problem and inadvertently working towards a solution.

Although it will be an uphill battle, the battle to save our ocean is a vital and extremely important task that we need everyone to do their part to help. If we all come together and work towards a common goal then I believe that we can get the ocean back on its feet and ultimately save the human race.

To the tune of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash by R.M.

 

I feel the breeze a’blowin

The spray barrades my face

And I aint seen the shore line

Since I quit from my workplace

I knew I shouldnta done it

But I knew I had to be free

And when the stars meet the horizon

The sight bewilders me

 

As I sit here rockin’rollin

And as the waves caress the hull

My boat proceeds to capsize

And sends me swimming with the gulls

I wondered how it happened

How did I end up here?

As the stars are spinnin round me

I sink and disappear

 

When the news had reached my hometown

Everybody was so glum

Except my jackass younger brother who said:

“See you in hell you lazy bum!”

My friends were melancholy

As they all raised a glass

They had me buried upside down

So the world could kiss my ass