Sunday, June 15, 2008

Extinction Is Forever

The beauty of the open ocean and the smell of salt in the air. The perfect setting for one of God's most beautiful, mysterious, misunderstood, complex creature to call home. At first, you see a shadow gliding through the water, but it's hard to make out. Then you catch your breath at the size and power of the silver warrior as it approaches. A loner, but one of the most graceful swimmers you will find in the sea. There is no mistaking the awesome beauty and power of the great white.

Though, it is called by several names, none do justice to this robust, powerful fish. To watch the great white glide through the water, moving it's two ton body with such ease, is like watching poetry in motion. So much power and yet so magnificent, with the grace of a ballerina. It's job, to maintain and control the balance in the ocean's echo system. The ultimate predator with no enemies most people would think. Unfortunately, for the great white, that is a false assumption. It has the most deadly enemy of all; man.

After watching a program on shark week "98", I was very saddened at what I had seen. The show was very discouraging in the fact, that there was a disturbing absence of adult sharks. The scientists and great white experts, like Rodney Fox, were not and are still not finding many sharks over 14 feet. A 14 foot great white is considered a juvenile or sub adult. They become adults at around 16 feet. They do not become sexually active until 7 years of age. The gestation period for pups is 12 months and only one or two are born alive. As you can see, it takes years for them to begin breeding. They can not reproduce fast enough to keep up with how many of them are being slaughtered.

Spear and sport have a different view of the facts. Regrettably, for the shark, it could be a very costly and deadly view. It is being said that there is an increase in the population because of the laws that have been enacted to protect the white sharks. There may be some truth to it but, there are many loop holes in them, that the sharks are paying the price. A price that is just too high.

For example, in Australia, you can kill a great white if your life is in danger. Spear fishermen kill 10 to 30 white sharks a year, using this as their reason for killing them. While I except a few in that number actually had their lives in danger, I do not believe all the cases were. The great white is a nuisance to them and this becomes a way to get rid of the nuisance. There is also all the money that can be made from selling great white parts.

Sports fishermen catch them for the fun and thrill of the catch. They say that they are tagging them before they release them so that the scientists can track them. What they fail to mention, is the the trauma from being hooked usually ends fatally for the shark. They build up lactic acid and it kills them. It then no longer becomes a help to the shark, but a detriment.

These are just a few key facts that get left out when they say that the great white population is on the rise, but these are very important facts. They show that the great white population is not doing as well as these groups claim. We need to be listening to the scientists and people who are working with great white population, who are actually doing the research.

With the absence of adult breeders, the great white is on it's way to extinction, sooner than most people think. All because man fears what he doesn't understand, and doesn't want to take the time to educate him or her self.

Movies, like Jaws, feed this fear until there is a need to conquer the great white and other sharks at all costs. At what point do we say enough is enough, the cost is too high? What are you willing to do to help stop this injustice, or do we only take a stand for animals that are cute and cuddly?

You can help by learning more about sharks. Please help, take the time to learn and pass on that knowledge. The great white and other sharks depend on it with their very lives.

Remember........Extinction is forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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