Are We Pointlessly Killing Sharks?

Emma Streich, Reporter

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Shark attacks along the West Coast have almost doubled from 2016 to 2017. In 2016 there were five attacks reported while in 2017 there were nine according to the Fresno Bee.

None of the 2017 attacks were fatal.

Eight of the nine attacks in 2017 took place off the coast of California with most happening in Santa Barbara.

“That’s exactly where I go,” said junior Ethan Rodgers “that is extremely close.”

Researchers speculate that the increase is due to more people being in the water than previous years. History shows that most of the attacks have been against surfers but recently kayakers have been attacked more frequently. Four of the nine were kayakers while only two were surfers.

Some experts think sharks are attacking in an attempt to drive people away from shark hunting grounds.

But can we really attempt to control where aquatic creatures roam in their own homes?

I say no.

Sharks predate homosapiens by 444 million years according to www.universetoday.com and www.sharksavers.org.

Sharks were on Earth long before humans and we are harming them simply because we want to swim, surf, and kayak through their homes.

Another factor contributing to the increase is the shark population rebounding from years of people killing them for their fins, for sport, or sometimes, the result of bycatch. Bycatch is when fisherman accidentally catch an animal they didn’t mean too while fishing.

Shark fin soup is a delicacy in Asian countries with some bowls costing $100 per person. Surprisingly, the fins provide no flavor to the meal and cooks must add chicken or other supplements.

Yet fins still sell for as much as $20,000.

People buy the fins mainly to show how wealthy they are.

We, as humans, are scared of sharks and think of them as natural human predators despite recent studies showing that humans kill between 100 and 273 million sharks per year. That is much much less than the 5-10 humans that sharks kill per year.

Rodgers says when he thinks about sharks he “just thinks they’re are animals and we are in their turf, but it’s a little scary” to know they are attacking more.

If the number of people going in the ocean continues to go up then we can expect the number of shark attacks to increase as well.

 

Sources:

http://www.sharksavers.org/en/education/biology/450-million-years-of-sharks1/

https://www.universetoday.com/38125/how-long-have-humans-been-on-earth/

http://welovesharks.club/why-are-we-killing-sharks-the-facts/amp/

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Are We Pointlessly Killing Sharks?