A shark attack at Albany, Western Australia on the weekend was the sixth attack this month globally. It follows shark attacks in San Diego,Mexico and Florida.
Interestingly New Smyrna Beach where the latest Florida incidents occurred has had more recorded incidents per square mile than any beach on Earth. So far this year there have been 10 attacks on surfers, including the three in three days that occurred last week. Yet still people swim there...
Of the attacks this month only the San Diego and Mexico incidents proved fatal to the humans involved. In comparison, the Shark Specialist Group at the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) estimates that around 100 million sharks are killed in shark fisheries and as bycatch around the world each year.
20% of the elasmobranch (shark and ray) species assessed for the IUCN 2006 redlist were considered to be in danger of extinction. Six species found in Australian waters are listed as threatened under the EPBC Act.
There are no catch limits in international waters and existing bans on “finning” are ineffective. Spanish fishing fleets in particular have been targeting sharks in recent years. In December the United Nations passed a resolution calling for catch limits and true shark-finning bans, and the European Union is currently drawing up a plan of action.
People love to hear about shark attacks, but it's a shame we don't hear more about the effects people are having on shark populations. We are driving them to extinction.
3 years ago