26 June 2012

The accidental killing of Sharks

I suppose the battlefront between humans and the sea is actually concentrated in the harbours scattered around the globe and if the fish and marine life wanted revenge they would bomb the harbours – it would stop almost all of the human predation on marine life.

I am not sure what the situation is in your part of the world but here in South Africa photographers are not allowed in harbours unless the apply for a permit for a specific day and time. It is supposedly a conforming to international regulations to prevent terrorism in harbours. An unfortunate side-effect is that you have no conservation conscious photographers around who might see and photograph anything interesting happening in the harbours like these two giant Mako Sharks that I spotted in the back of a bakkie (utility vehicle in the rest of the world).

Their story is both interesting, ridiculous and unfortunate. They are apparently legally caught as accidental by-catch by trawlers which is quite ridiculous as the trawlers are targeting sardines and other small fish. How can catching a 7 foot long shark be an accident? Anyway that is how it is. The sharks die accidentally and get cut up and sold in local fish and chip shops and also get made into pickled fish and fish balls. You might notice that the jaws are cut out of the carcass. These are cleaned and either made into a lamp fitting (gory and ugly) or the teeth are used separately as decorative items (what exactly I am not sure).

I seldom go into the harbour nowadays as the schlep for getting a permit is about as fun as going to the dentist and have no idea what is going on. Hope the fisheries inspectors are doing their job.

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