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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Silky Sharks and giving Thanks

Pyong'hwa

Korean for 'Peace'

a painting of North Korea by a North Korean artist

There was news today about the silky shark
and an international co-op committee of sorts
that met to discuss oceanic ecology
and the prevention of species extinction.
Declines of the silky shark have been recently showing up as much as
a 90% drop in populations.
Their findings and new laws you can find out about here:




So, it's a shark right?
Sharks are bad, right?
'Jaws' taught us that a dead shark is a good shark, right?
So why would I care if there is a decline?
Less sharks to eat people, right?

WRONG!

"When the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and earth must pass
before such a one can be again."

- William Beebe, scientist


silky sharks off Malpelo Island, near Cocos


The silky shark is the second most common shark caught as bycatch.
(The blue shark is the most common.)
So, what's bycatch?
That is all the other sea life that are caught in a fishing net
that is meant for another kind of marine fish.
Like blue tuna.
A favorite food for silky sharks and dolphins.

In centuries past and not so past, the fishermen would just throw the mostly dead
or dead unwanted sea life (fish, mammals, whales, etc.) back in the ocean.
This has caused a large decline in the population of dolphins and whales.
There have been international laws in place for a little while
(thanks to Green Peace and other animal rights groups)
to protect some species of whales, and dolphins.
First time for silky sharks.


a silky shark caught in a net, www.arkive.org



SOME SILKY SHARK FACTS:

A silky shark has a slender, streamlined body and typically grows to 8'2" (2.5 m).
It is called a silky shark because it has a smooth texture of its skin!
Silky sharks are very mobile and migratory.
Individual sharks have been tag-tracked to travel as much as 37 miles per day (60km) and covering distances of up to 832 miles (1,339km).
That's a whole lotta' swimming.




diagram of a silky shark, www.dpi.quld.gov.au

Silky sharks are open ocean sharks and are found from the surface to 660 ft (200m) down, however they do dive to 1,600 ft (500m) or more.
They spend 99% of their time cruising within 10 ft.(50m) of the surface.
They like their water temp at 79 - 86 degrees F (26 - 30 'C).
They hang out over deep water reefs and around islands
for around 82% of their time.

So again, why should we care if they are becoming extinct?

I believe that all things are created by G-d.
We are all connected through our Creator.
If one strand is disturbed, then unbalance occurs.
If G-d made this world complete (which I believe He did)
then losing a species of any kind will create unbalance
and chaos.
Not to mention being incredibly rude to G-d who has given all of this for us to protect and to use wisely.

picture taken off the coast of Cuba


"The loneliness of man is the loneliness of the animal.
We must have one another.
The baboon seeks his troop, the book keeper his busy office,
the buffalo his herd,
the weary bricklayer his fellows at the corner pub,
the herring his schools in the cold North Sea -
all for quite the same reason:

because we cannot survive without one another."

- Robert Ardrey "The Social Contract"


I have gathered quite a bit more info on the silky shark, but this isn't really
a scientific blog, now is it?
Much of the info I have found is from Wikipedia.
What a marvelous source of information!

We should all know however that silky sharks, like many other sharks, are deliberately killed for their fins.
Shark fins are highly valued and a main ingredient in 'shark fin soup'.
Captured sharks are often 'finned' at sea, and the rest of the body
discarded.

Why does this make me think of rhinocerous'?
The American buffalo?
The African elephant?
The black bear?
Each of them have been hunted for only one body part,
the rest is left to die and rot.

Doesn't sound like a very good use of the gifts God has given us.

Silky sharks are also hunted for their meat (sold fresh or dried/salted), skin, and liver oil. The dried shark jaws are sold as curios to tourists in the tropics.
Fins from these silky sharks are traded an estimated
500,000 to 1,500,000 per year.
(That's half of a million to one and a half million for those of you
who don't like to count zeros!)
The Hong Kong fin market represents over half of the global trade.
The silky shark is the 2nd or 3rd most common species auctioned.


a dried shark jaw, www.elasmo-research.org

People, people, people -
we've GOT to get our priorities straight.
You know the next threat to the silky shark?
Sport fishermen and tourists that fish for them.

Is it really worth putting a stuffed shark on your wall,
or a photo of you and a dead shark on your home website
to cause the extinction of a species?


"Teach your children what we have taught our children -
that the earth is our mother.
Whatever befalls the earth,
befalls the sons of the earth....

Earth does not belong to us;
We belong to the earth."

paraphrased from a speech by Chief Seattle


As we enter this time of Thanksgiving for all the bounty we have received from the past year,
let's give a prayer for us all to respect nature.
To thank God for what He has given us.
And yeah, that includes sharks.


and PLEASE,
think twice before you go on a sports fishing adventure,
or you see shark fin soup on a menu,
or 'just picking up mementos' from a vacation.

'There is always hope
when people are forced to listen
to both sides.'
- John Stuart Mill

Thanks for listening to one of my 'rants' about the earth,
and our individual responsibilities to the world around us.

inkspired
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It really is easy!



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