Sharks have it rough, between their demonization in Hollywood blockbusters and B-movie horror, being captured and slaughtered for their fins, and being killed as a result of bycatch, they can’t seem to catch a break. But now, they have something else to worry about … jerks dragging them out of the ocean for fun to capture it on camera. Yeah, that’s right. Our obsession with taking animal selfies has lead to this.
During the course of a four-day fishing trip off the coast of West Australia, two fishermen, Josh Butterworth and John Bonnitcha, deliberately snagged not one, not two, but TEN tiger sharks. Why would anybody do this? Butterworth, one of the fishers, has the answer: “We do a lot of game fishing and when it’s not marlin season we just try to find something that pulls as hard as they do.”
Every year 100 million sharks are killed by humans. As if sharks didn’t already have enough to worry about, these jerks are making it worse.
How on earth could anyone consider dragging these poor creatures from their natural environment “fun”?!
“When you have them in the water holding them they’re like big puppy dogs. As soon as you take your hands off them they bolt — they are pretty lazy things.” What’s more likely is that they sharks were injured or paralyzed during their struggle.
Struggling to get free doesn’t look very lazy to us.
Butterworth and Bonnitcha may release the sharks after taking their selfies, but this is a part of a larger problem. Sharks are one of the most important members of the marine ecosystem and they play a vital role in combatting climate change. In fact, one study showed that a decrease in the population of sharks can lead to the collapse of an entire ecosystem. When sharks are removed from their environment, it causes an influx of small marine animals which feed off of vegetation.With more marine animals eating vegetation, there are fewer plants to release vital oxygen into the water, ultimately leading to dead zones where marine life can’t survive… And we all know that if oceans die, we die. So, great photos, bros, but if we continue to promote the disrespect of sharks, we might not have an ocean.
To learn more about the vital roles sharks play in our ocean’s ecosystems, check out these articles:
- How Protecting Sharks Can Help Slow Climate Change
- Shark Attack Numbers Are Up, But Sharks Aren’t to Blame
- Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds! Why Humans Need Sharks
All image source: Josh Butterworth/Daily Mail