Sharks are Victims, Not Villains
When I read "Conservationists Rally to Support Sharks" (AP), by Tara Godvin, I experienced deja vu. Godvin reports that sharks are dwindling in number–20% of the population is threatened–and conservationist want people to stop fearing them, stop attacking them, and instead start working on their behalf.
For every person killed by a shark, 10 MILLION sharks are killed by people.
The deja vu was because I recalled Peter Benchley, author of JAWS, making a plea to stop the slaughter of sharks back in 2000. Benchley called sharks "more the victims than the villains," and noted that since the release of JAWS in 1975 (which he admits was based on what turned out to be erroneous information), "sharks have experienced an unprecedented and uncontrolled attack" by humans. He called on Asia to stop eating shark fin soup, although he did say that "ripping their fins off and throwing them back in the water to die" is not economical because it wastes 99% of the shark.
Um, that’s why he wants them to stop? Because finning is wasteful? That’s the lamest reason I ever heard. How about, it’s horrifically cruel, and their fins don’t belong to us, anyway?
But I digress. Even back in 2000, 100 million sharks were killed annually by humans, yet only 12 people were killed annually by sharks. Contrary to popular belief, sharks avoid people, and few species pose a threat to us.
Here’s a novel idea, particularly for the media in South Florida. Stop demonizing sharks, stop calling each accidentaly bite an "attack," and stop adding to the frenzy to slaughter sharks. We have created an image that is unfair and caused enormous damage, and we have a responsibility to fix it.
Visit The Shark Research Institute for more.