Fascinating. Who, since the release of the movie Jaw in 1975 isn’t afraid – openly or secretly – of sharks when swimming in the deep blue? Today, seven people who actually have been victims of shark attacks have taken a counter-intuitive step. Although they got attacked by sharks and subsequently lost limbs, they decided to get over it and raise their concerns in a United Nations forum about the increasing extinction of sharks. Indeed and as stated by the World Wild Fund, “despite their fearsome reputation as ruthless predators, sharks are much more likely to be killed by humans than the other way round.” Among the 400-ish existing species of sharks, only three – the great white, the tiger and the bull sharks – are involved in most attacks on humans.
Nevertheless, 30% of sharks are now threatened by extinction. The main reasons are over-fishing (shark fins are used in expensive soups notably in Asia), by-catch in fishers’ nets, and loss of marine habitat due to pollution. Even though many of us would feel relieved with fewer sharks in the seas, you can imagine that they are an important end of the food chain and play a key regulatory role of they prey’s populations. Bio-diversity in other words, need sharks.
I could also make a reference to the general over-fishing and destruction of the seas by human activities, but it’s too depressing to tackle it now. On the contrary, I’d rather emphasize the courage and example of these seven victims. They’ve lost a leg, an arm, and sometimes both, yet continue enjoying the pleasure of the sea. Respect.