Predator! Man-eater! Sea monster!

Its bad reputation does not date from Spielberg. Stories from antiquity already mention these « sea monster » in the Mediterranean sea. But is such a fear justified or are we influenced by the fantaisies of artists and writers in search of the big chill ? The truth is, we are far from being prime prey for them.
Their reputation as an agressive animal comes more from the spectacular nature of the attacks than from their number : an average of ten attacks and five deaths per year is very few. Surprising comparison, elephants kill around 500 people per year, 50 times more than sharks ! Despite this, elephants attract far more sympathy than our unloved of the seas.
Our ignorance of sharks is a direct result of the lack of empathy they wrongly inspire.And yet, the numbers are chilling. 100 million sharks killed each year, a decrease in their population of up to 90% (or even 99% in some species ! ), one out of two species threatened with extinction in the Mediterranean…
Even more chilling: shark-finning. For shark fin soup, the Chinese are willing to pay dearly. In the Far East, this dish is a sign of wealth and power. It is also said to have false therapeutic virtues, none of wich gave been scientifically proven and even refuted and labelled as dangerous for humans.
In concrete terms, the practice of shark-finning consists of cutting off with a knife, on the living shark, all of its fins before throwing it back into the waters, the rest of the body having no commercial value. Deprived of its means of movement, the shark will be condemned to die og suffocation, unable to swim to oxygenate itself. Did you say “sickening” ?
Despite the awareness of many states and the ban on shark-finning in their waters, the practice continues with impunity in international waters. A veritable mafia has been created, bringing together poachers and organized crime. Fin fishing has thus become the second most lucrative business, after drugs.
So yes, the shark is a super predator, the top of its food chain even. But this very position makes it the guarantor of the balance of underwater ecosystems. Without it, intermediate predators (the shark’s usual prey) proliferate, thus endangering the population of our small reef fish. This inexorably leads to the decline of the coral reef and the reduction of phytoplankton, wich therefor filter less oxygen, with all the consequences that this has for our planet. He is the Guardian of the Ocean.

To meet to better understand.

« My first shark dive, I was worried because of the popular and disastrous image of sharks. But after a time of observation and experience, we understand that WE are the intruders in their world, we are in their home. If we are discreet and respectful, everything will go well. On the other hand, if we feel that we are not welcome, we must get ouit of the water ! We learn this quickly, and very often with a little fright. »
Alexis Rosenfeld.