Have you seen a box office movie called “Jaws”? I assume that most of you must have watched the movie. It depicted sharks as the cruelest creature in the world since they kill humans who swim in the open water. This is not true. Humans are actually crueler than the sharks for shark fishing has become one of the biggest industries all over the world. More and more fishermen are catching sharks for a good price while the nature suffers because of this. Sharks are the top predators of food chain, so they have an important role in the oceanic ecosystem. However, in the last 30 years, the number of their population has been decreasing for more than 90 percent. The diminishing number of the sharks is totally not good for the oceanic ecosystem and the overall nature. Without the sharks in the food chain, the world is threatened. Therefore, we have to save sharks since they have an important role for the oceanic ecosystem and the overall nature.
One might say that saving the sharks is violating the rights of most fishermen in the world to earn money since shark finning has become the only one source of income of most fishermen in the world. However, this is not true. Based on the interview I have done with the fishermen on January 19th, 2013 in Raja Ampat, all of the fishermen there said that sharks are actually their ‘bycatch’ fish. The bycatch fish is the fish that fishermen unintentionally catch while they are fishing another species of fish like tuna or mackerel. In other words, the fishermen do not depend on shark fishing or shark finning to fulfill their daily needs.
Another argument said that shark fishing is not cruel since sharks themselves are the cruelest creature we see in movies. In fact, “no more than 12 people a year are killed by sharks worldwide. It is more dangerous to play golf than to swim in the ocean with sharks. More golfers are struck by lightning and killed each year than the total number of shark fatalities” (“The Brutal Business of Shark Finning,” par.2) Here we can see that sharks are not as cruel as we see in the movies. Remember, what we see in the movies are very different from the reality.
The third argument said that we do not have to save sharks because shark fin soup and shark meat are very nutritious. I can bravely say that this statement is actually a myth. Based on the study done by Sharkproject—a shark protection organization (“The Poisonous Shark Meat,” par.2), “one kilogram of blue shark steak contains up to 1,400 microgram of methyl mercury which is 60 times more than a 70kg heavy consumer per day may have” For methyl mercury is extremely hazardous for our bodies, methyl mercury itself can cause severe diseases such as cancer, kidney damages, and massive damages for the brain. (“The Poisonous Shark Meat”, par.3-4) Due to the facts stated above, it is now proven that shark based food is not nutritious at all.
Picture: The food chain of oceanic ecosystem. (source: antediluviansalad.blogspot.com)
In addition, there are two specific reasons why we have to save sharks. First, sharks are the top predators in the food chain of the oceanic ecosystem. Therefore, sharks have an important role for the balance of the nature. Related to this, the population of the sharks determines whether we can eat any delicious seafood or not; whether there is enough seafood for humans or not. As we can see in the food chain of the oceanic ecosystem, there are carnivores like mackerel and tuna right below the sharks. These carnivores prey the crustaceans beneath them. The crustaceans are the species of the seafood we usually consume like shrimps and crabs. Thus, what is the relation between the availability of seafood and sharks population? Let us look at this interesting fact: if there are no sharks, the number of carnivores will increase rapidly causing them to eat more crustaceans than usual. The impact of this is that the number of crustaceans will become smaller, and it will be hard for humans to find delicious seafood to eat. In this way, we have to save sharks if we still want to have the delicious seafood served in our plates. The next reason to save sharks is that eating a shark fin soup is not comparable to the damage we cause to the oceanic ecosystem. A shark fin soup is known for the delicacy and price, and that is why most people eat it for prestige. Should we really let the nature suffer only for a dangerous shark fin soup?
As we live together with the nature in this world, we have to remember that it is our job to take care of the nature if humans still want to live in this world. Saving sharks is one of the ways to take care of the earth. Please think twice before eating shark-based food. If you want to live longer and you want your grandchildren to enjoy the beautiful nature, you have to save the sharks. In conclusion, by saving the sharks we are actually saving the world! Let’s save sharks!
“The Brutal Business of Shark Finning.” Sea Shepherd Conservation Society 2012. Feb 20.
“Poisonous Shark Meat.” Vision Dive 2013. Feb 20. 2013.
Bryant, Charles W. “How Many Sharks are Killed Recreationally Each Year—and
Why?” Animal Planet 2011. Feb 20. 2013.
And also self documentary research done with Nescafe Journey team in January 2013 at Raja Ampat Islands.
p.s.This is my argumentative essay for my Writing VI class in English Department, Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia. I am so glad to know that my lecturer–Mrs.Harwintha really appreciated this writing, and she is now more concerned about the sharks and the ocean. 🙂