Sunday, 21 August 2011

Shark attack in the Seychelles - Wrong to hunt Shark.

Bull Shark
I know this isn't a political subject but I needed to talk about this.

I want to say that the loss of Ian Redmond on honeymoon was tragic. My heart goes out to his widow, no one deserves to suffer a lose like that especially on honeymoon. I can't imagine what she is going through.

However, I cannot condone the hunting down of the Bull Shark by a flotilla of spear fishermen who are looking for (as the BBC put it) shark or sharks responsible for two attacks over the last month.

What? Sharks or sharks responsible? Does that mean that the fishermen will be questioning the fish before they kill it? Is this some Shark based crime wave that has hit the idyllic island paradise? No.

On top of that, I heard somewhere that the flotilla was being backed up by a gunboat. A Gunboat?!!! It is an 8ft Shark not a bloody U-boat sinking Allied shipping.

The Bull shark or Carcharhinus leucas is a known man eater, they are one of the few sharks able to swim up rivers and has been known to attack pilgrims washing in the Ganges, India. They also have been known to attack people who are in the Sydney inlets. However these attacks are exceptionally rare, there has only ever been one shark to have attacked people over an extended period of time and that was a Great White Shark in 1915 on the east coast of the USA, this shark actually swam up a creek and continued its killing spree.

If a Bull shark did attack Mr Redmond it must be born in mind that it is a WILD animal in its habitat and attacked him for good reason... I.e it was hungry or mistook him for another food stuff. Either way it did what came naturally to it why should it have to die?

These sort of Shark culls have happened before. Back in the 1970's it was believed the Grey Nurse shark (Carcharias taurus) was responsible for many shark attacks, partially because of its fearsome look, and hunted to near extinction, in fact it still remains on the endangered list. Other cases have led to fishermen just spearing large numbers of sharks whose remains aren't even eaten; they are merely ripped from the sea.

Shark conservation is a serious matter as China harvest vast numbers of them for the delicacy of shark fin soup, often discarding the still living shark, sans fins, and tossing it back in the sea. Numbers are also dwindling due to netting of beeches that kills off many smaller, non lethal species.

Breaking news, identification by scientists have now revealed that the Shark was actually a Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias). Which is still a vulnerable species but the good news for the Seychelles is that it is not a natural fish for their waters and meandered in. This probably won't save it. At 8ft it is still a young to middle aged Great White, fully grown adults can get up to 21ft or bigger in open water!
It is known for its vicious attacks on people, especially off Amity Island in North America in Jaws films!!!!
In real life, it isn't as big a threat as the movies made out. Humans aren't particularly to their tastes and low in meat to bone ratio. The other suggestion is that most attacks by Great Whites have been in areas where there is low visibility where their senses were impaired. Also if observed from below humans on surf boards look like seals, the Shark's staple food.
Often the Great White will do a test bite on a subject... often fairly fatal, but explains why a lot of people die ashore rather than disappear.

What I am trying to say is that these wild creatures are doing what millions of years of evolution have helped design. It cannot be condemned to death for this. More importantly how many other sharks will be hunted down and killed in the process. Personally i think we should mourn the tragic loss and let nature be.

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