logo logo

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Great whites on display

A good article about another breed of shark in captivity. I think holding any type of large migratory species captive is just wrong. Especially if you are creating a market for the capture and trafficking of the species.

Great Whites on Display - Has Scientific Pursuit Put This Predator Back on the Market?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008 By Alastair Bland, The Santa Barbara Independent

Four Southern California great white sharks have resided on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium since 2004 — each in the Outer Bay exhibit for as long as six months before being released back into the wild. Aquarium spokespeople say the display program has benefited public perception of sharks everywhere and, ultimately, will boost interest and activism in preserving the ocean’s diminishing shark populations.

However, five great whites have died in the hands of the Monterey Bay Aquarium since 2004, when the facility began acquiring juveniles entangled in the nets of certain boats and, consequently, critics have suggested that the aquarium is doing less for wild great whites than it is for its own box office sales.

Van Sommeran (an independent shark researcher and founder of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation) believes that science gains little when large pelagic animals are housed in tanks, an activity he has spoken against for years. “The public interest in these fish is already as high as it’s ever been, so the question is, ‘Is the shark on display to raise awareness? Or is it on display because awareness is high?’”

Van Sommeran even wonders if the effects of the Outer Bay shark exhibits could have a negative net effect on California great whites. “The aquarium says they’re promoting interest in protecting them, but [great] white sharks are already a protected species in California. Without the aquarium’s display program, there would be no one fishing for them. Anyone who did would be a poacher.”

Isn't it obvious that these aquariums and oceanariums are getting away with hiding their money-making schemes under the banner of "conservation", just like Resort World Sentosa.

Other researchers have noted that — in spite of public enthusiasm for sharks, shark movies, and shark exhibits — the slaughter of wild sharks for fins, flesh, and wall mounts remains rampant. In the 1980s, after an undercover filmmaker took footage of commercial tuna fishers massacring hundreds of dolphins, the world reacted with outrage and activism. However, abundant primetime footage of fishers slicing the fins from live sharks before discarding the crippled fish back into the sea has not quite had the same effect. Wild sharks are 90 percent gone, say scientists, and still diners eat them in restaurants.

I really don't understand this. I guess sharks are just not as cuddly and adorable as dolphins or seals. But sharks are just as, and maybe even more, essential to the balance of the oceanic food chain and we really need them around!

No comments:

Post a Comment