Sharks Are Necessary…And Not Just For TV Fans
~ Samantha Lewis
Sharks are one of the most frightening creatures to mankind. After all, generations have been raised on the stories, movies and pictures of that dreaded ‘JAWS’ that will come after you like an avid stalker, making sure you are reduced to nothing but luncheon meat by the cold-eyed, dead-hearted creature.
Come on! This is the environment. This is the ecological system that everyone out there seems to be wanting or willing to save. Although ‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’ brought in millions upon millions of fans when it aired on TV this past week, it is important to note that, no matter what you believe, sharks will not come after you on the subway. That’s a promise. Unless you have a really lousy city developer who feels that the subway system needs to go as far out into the ocean as humanly possible.
The hammerhead off the coast of Florida this past week also stunned the world. Seems strange, considering this is not the first time this has happened. Was he trolling for the swimmers? No. Perhaps it is wise every once in a while to remind people out there that the ocean is actually very much their home, and not ours. It is also beneficial to bring up the fact that sharks are still necessary to the ecological state of this globe. We need them, and that’s a fact. Of course you’ll be scared of them. However, you wouldn’t want to head into a King Cobra’s nest either and say hello…I would think. There are all kinds of dangerous creatures out there…but, if you do watch TV a great deal, you should already be well aware that they are definitely not as dangerous as humans. Ever seen a shark with a cell phone driving in a car taking out others? I thought not.
Hollywood is just that – Hollywood. It is entertainment, not the truth. And environmentalists need people to understand that the Great White can actually not survive in total isolation. They are a huge part and a necessary part of a complex and diverse marine community that must stay in place and stay in working order for this planet to survive.
Here’s a better way of understanding things, using a link of herbivores and carnivores that may not be as frightening to you. Yellowstone National Park fought for decades in regards to the overwhelming number of red deer in their area. Their numbers were skyrocketing, and because of this, their grazing was taking the very life out of the land. Other species could not survive because the food supply was dwindling to nothing. How to solve something like this? It is not always the hunter who can be relied upon. The network of nature is already in place for a reason, and by bringing wolves back to the area (because they had been hunted to extinction by humans), Yellowstone solved the problem. These carnivores were the necessity to bring back the ecosystem and have the land once again balanced so that the wider range of animals could be taken care of and provided for.
Sharks are just as necessary. Marine life can become impoverished by other marine life. If the predator is taken away, marine life will begin to slowly die, coral reefs will recede, and the globe will experience horrific issues because of the fact that the ecosystem is losing its main predator. It is hardly a surprise that fishing reduces a reef’s species. But it is important to note that the Great White has predators of its very own. Again, the shark must be in place for the Killer Whale to survive.
Humans remain the most significant predators of Great Whites. The jaws and teeth of the predator are highly valued and are basically sold as trophies for anyone with the cash to pay. Just like the hideousness that happens to Rhino’s, the Great White’s ‘parts’ are taken and the carcasses are simply thrown away. That sounds far more like a Hollywood horror.
California did become the very first state to declare the Great White a protected species in 1993. Any boat carrying part or all of a Great White caught outside State waters was also prohibited from landing at any California port. But rules do not exist elsewhere, and given the fact that the Great White has limited reproduction capabilities, removing just one for profit can make sure this endangered species eventually disappears altogether.
And if it does…Hollywood will not be able to save the marine ecosystem that we need in order to live.