Give sharks a break
Author: Angela Pauly
Date: August 31, 2012
In the past few weeks, shark attacks in Reunion and more recently in Australia have prompted calls on authorities to kill sharks to protect surfers and swimmers.
Since it’s such a touchy subject, we asked our shark expert, Allison Perry, her thoughts, which we wanted to share with you:
"It's important to keep in mind what sort of numbers we're talking about. In 2011 worldwide there were 12 fatal unprovoked shark attacks reported, in 2010 there were six. Over those two years, there is an increase but in actual numbers this is relatively small. As far as the numbers of sharks go, we're much more dangerous to sharks than they are to humans."
It is estimated that up to 73 million sharks are killed each year.
Obviously, the biggest threat to sharks remains overfishing (and finning). In Europe, we’ve succeeded in securing protection for several species of sharks in the Mediterranean, where some shark populations have dwindled by as much as 99% (that’s not a typo).
In the coming weeks, an important vote by the Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament will decide on whether or not to close the loophole that currently exists in the EU ban on finning. We’ll continue doing our part to protect these species, which are a crucial element of the marine ecosystem.