Blog Archives

Tales from the Tikina.

A project I have been working on looking at marine conservation from a slightly different perspective. Enjoy.

The wave of change.

Mr. Whitey

Congratulations California, you finally got it together. Yesterday morning Governor Jerry Brown signed bill AB376 (check it out) into law, thereby banning the possession, trade and sale of shark fins in Californian waters. Along with Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Guam, we were previously the largest importers of shark fins outside of Asia bringing in an estimated 570 metric tons of shark fins in 2009. Now with finning banned in all of these states, this is a  great day to add to a momentous year for sharks all around the world. A win like this just goes to show, that scientists and people who care about the oceans can truly make a difference.  This brought a big smile to my face while drinking my coffee this morning.

However, my elated mood was quickly dampened as I started to read some of the comments that certain people were posting. For instance…

“Thanx gov brown,you just raised up the price for shark fins,And when a shark bites off the arm or leg of one of your kids,Then maybe you will think twice before signing another bill like this,You are a fool.”

“I have been eating sharks for over 40 years.no one is going to make me stop catching and eating them.everything in the world has mercury in it and no one is dying from it.Go back to tending your sheeple.Sharks dont need to be protected.People need to be protected from the gov idiots that are messing up the USA”

“i’t won’t do much..CA isn’t the biggest consumer in shark fin’s. Most chinese resturant don’t use authentic shark fin’s anyways its way to expensive and not alot of people buy it in resturants.
Also i don’t think the ban will do anything much since im sure if you go to Chinatown you will be able to find some even if it’s banned.
The biggest consumer are people in China & Hong Kong.”

“This bill will do NOTHING, touchy feely worthless paperwork…..”

Really people? Really?

Okay, so I don’t really care about your political views. That’s your own business. And as much power as politicians may have over issues such as these, it’s more than just a political issue. I know we live in a country where you are entitled to your opinions and you constitutionally hold a right to voice such opinions, but ignorant, uneducated comments such as these must be addressed.

When it comes to sharks, perhaps the biggest threat surrounding them is fear. Thanks to Hollywood thrillers such as Jaws, Deep Blue Sea and numerous other misinterpretations of shark behavior (some could even argue Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” is included with these), the public perception of sharks is that they are man-eating, cold-hearted killers.

Let’s take a look at the stats shall we. We are now dealing with the annihilation of not just a couple of species, but of an entire branch (not to mention one of the oldest branches) on the phylogenetic tree of life. According to the International Shark Attack File kept by the Florida Museum of Natural History, there were 79 shark attacks globally in 2010, 6 of which were fatal. I am not belittling this number in any way, it is unfortunate yes, but it is without doubt that these were accidental as we are not quite on the menu for sharks (contrary to popular belief, they are not out to get us). However, if you flip the coin and compare it to the roughly 73 million sharks that are slaughtered annually, you must question,

“Who should be afraid of who?”

For those out there who don’t really like dealing with numbers, here is a nice visual from a documentary of which I highly recommend watching. In an effort to save sharks by showing the world what is going on in oceanic waters beyond the public’s sight, filmmaker Rob Stewart created “Sharkwater.” Although at parts it might be a little cheesy, it depicts a telling and true tale about the battle sharks are facing and losing globally.

Trailer:

Along with a clip that I am still unable to watch all the way through:

Bottom line. Sharks must be and can be protected. They are top-predators in the ocean for a reason. They maintain the balance and currently the balance is being massively upset. These beautifully powerful and ecologically essential creatures are facing massive extinction and it is at our hands. Legislation such as the bill passed yesterday and numerous others that have been put into action this year around the world, DO HELP. They are not, however, the end all be all. We must change our habits, our perspective and our mentality. Don’t be ignorant in thinking that this is a foreign problem and will never affect you. Believe me, if sharks populations cannot rebound from these atrocities, it will affect all of us. Educate yourselves. Educate your friends. Be the change.

Finally to leave you with this, a recent PSA created by WildAid and NBA all-star Yao Ming really puts it all into prospective:

For more information, please visit:

SRI

FLMNH

NOAA

NeilHammer.com

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Sources: Businessweek, KQED News, The Sacromento Bee, FLMNH

2070.

LETTER WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 2070 
Article published in the magazine “Crónicas de los Tiempos“, in April 2002This is the year 2070 I have just turned 50, but I my appearance is of somebody of 85. I suffer from serious kidney problems, because I do not drink enough water. I’m afraid I do not have much time left to live. I am one of the oldest people in this society.

I remember when I was a child of 5. There were lots of trees in the parks, houses with beautiful gardens, and I could enjoy having a shower for half an hour. Everything was very different then. Nowadays we use towels with mineral oil to clean our skin. 
Before, women had beautiful hair. Then, my father washed his car with water coming out of a hosepipe. Now, my son does not believe that water could be wasted that way. Now, we have to shave our heads to keep them clean without the use of water.
I remember there were SAVE WATER warnings on outside posters, radio and TV, but nobody paid attention. We thought that water was to last forever. Now, all the rivers, lakes, dams and underground water beds are either dry or contaminated. 
Industry came virtually to a standstill and unemployment reached dramatic proportions. Desalination plants are the main source of employment and workers receive part of their salary in drinkable water.
Assaults at gun point on the streets for a jerrycan of water are very common. Food is 80% synthetic. Before, the recommended quantity of water to drink for an adult was 8 glasses a day. Nowadays, I am only allowed half a glass. We now have to wear disposable clothing, and this increases the amount of litter. We are using now septic tanks, because the sewerage system does not work for lack of water.
The outside appearance of the population is horrible: wrinkled, emaciated bodies, due to dehydration, full of sores caused by ultra violet radiation, now stronger without the protective shield of the ozone layer. Skin cancer, gastrointestinal infections and of the urinary tracts are the main causes of death. 
Due to the excessive drying of the skin young people of 20 look like 40. Water cannot be produced, oxygen is also degraded due to the lack of trees and vegetation, and the intellectual capacity of the new generations is severely impaired. Scientists investigate, but there’s no solution to the problem.
The morphology of spermatozoa in many men has changed. As a consequence, babies are born with deficiencies, mutations and physical deformities.
Government makes us pay for the air we breathe, 137 m3 per day per adult person. People who cannot pay are expelled from the “ventilated zones”, with huge mechanical lungs driven by solar power. The air is not of good quality, but at least people can breathe. The average life expectancy is 35 years.
In some countries, where there are still some green zones crossed by rivers, these are guarded by heavy armed soldiers. Water became a very coveted treasure, more precious than gold and diamonds.
Where I live, there are no trees, because it seldom rains. When it happens to register some precipitation, it is of acid rain. The seasons have been severely affected by the atomic tests and by contamination from the 20th century polluting industries. We were warned to look after the environment, but nobody cared.
When my son asks me to talk about my youth, I tell him about the green fields, the beauty of the flowers, the rain, how pleasant was to swim and fish in the rivers and dams, to drink all the water we could, and how healthy people was.
Then, I feel a lump in my throat! He asks: Daddy! Why there is no water?
I cannot help feeling guilty, because I belong to the generation who contributed to the destruction of the environment or simply did not take into account all the warning signs.
Now our children pay a very high price!
I sincerely believe that within a short time life on earth will not be possible, as the destruction of nature reached now an irreversible stage.
How I would like to go back and make mankind understand… …that we still had time to save our Planet Earth.
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