You may have seen recently in the news, that an Australian man has been fined £9,000 for beating a great white shark, an endangered species, to death. For those of you unaware, here’s the exact report of his actions from the BBC article below:
According to witnesses, the man herded the young shark into shallow water and deliberately hit it with his boat several times, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said in a statement.
The shark’s main injuries came from the boat’s propeller, the DPI said.
A rope was then tied onto the shark’s tail and it was towed onto a boat ramp by a second boat, where it was beaten on the head with a metal pole multiple times, the DPI added.
Now imagine this was your pet. Your animal or a ‘cute’ dolphin. How would you feel? Whilst I understand that people believe they are entitled to kill sharks because they harm humans and are, therefore, predators, we really need to readdress our viewpoint on the situation because the statistics don’t support this at all.
According to the National Geographic website, for every human killed by a shark, humans kill approximately two million sharks. Now does this seem fair? Sharks attack because we are in their territory, in their home. They are often confused or distracted by misleading images, such as a surfer appearing to look like a seal on their board from underneath. What’s more the sharks that are killed, are taken mainly for their fins. There’s no use of the rest of the meat so unlike with fishing this is incredibly wasteful and a misuse of earth’s resources.
This Australian man essentially tortured a creature that knew no better and I honestly fail to comprehend what went through his mind. If he needed something to prove, he could have just as easily bought a sports car.
I feel incredibly passionately that we need to start respecting the oceans and just because an animal isn’t cute or won’t make a nice pet or won’t jump in shows at Seaworld, doesn’t mean we should be affording them any less concern.
To clarify, this post is not intended to show disrespect to anyone who has suffered a shark attack or bereavement due to it, my sympathies are deeply with them.But just think how many people each day die at the hands of another human. You cannot then punish the next human being walking along the street to pay for another’s crime. An entire species shouldn’t be paying for the actions of a few sharks, fall victim to testosterone fuelled fishing trips or be killed for a small part of their body.
Sharks deserve our respect and help, just as much as any other creature, and I hope to see many more convictions and higher fines for the maltreatment of sharks.