Sharks Survived Five Mass Extinctions, But May Not Survive Humans

Sharks Surivved Five Mass Exintctions But May Not Survive Humans | Meat Your Future
Photo credit: Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images – Indonesian fishermen process their catch, including sharks, at a fishing village in Brondong, East Java

Sharks are ancient animals who have existed for more than 400 million years, long before the dinosaurs. They survived all five previous mass extinctions, and have shaped our planet’s ocean ecosystems over eons.

But, since 1950, we humans have eliminated 90% of the ocean’s large fish — including sharks.

We kill over 10,000 sharks per hour, primarily due to our global appetite for seafood as non-targeted “by-catch” in commercial fishing operations, for the shark fin trade, and in recreational fishing.

We are decimating these important and ancient animals in a blink of a geological eye. But, unlike pandas and rhinos who are also endangered, very few organizations are rallying behind sharks. Perhaps it’s because we see them as primitive and vicious.

But we don’t even understand the cascading effect losing these large ocean predators is having, and will continue to have, on our delicate and interconnected marine ecosystems. Losing millions of years of evolution due to one species’ irresponsible and cruel activities is beyond tragic.

The good news is that since humans have no biological need to eat any seafood (or any other animal foods), we can end this onslaught today if we collectively garner the will to simply leave animal foods (including fish and shark fins) off our plates.

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For more, we recommend watching the documentary SharkWater

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