Sunday, May 31, 2015

There be sharks!

If you don't know Ocean Search then you should really check it out.

So the movie Jaws introduced us to the idea that Great White Sharks live on the US East Coast but the fishermen and other nature folks have now this for generations.  Unfortunately the history of sharks on the East Coast is more than a little bit one sided ... we killed them ... and continue to kill them ... in large numbers.  Montauk in particular was, and is, a center of shark slaughter ... sickening photos of sad little men standing next to dead sharks are still on display every week, even today.  But there is a bit of a bright spot ... the folks at Oceansearch have been tagging and tracking sharks on the East Coast and have started the long, slow, process of changing their image from Man-Killers to the amazing complex creatures that they are.

Recently the New York Post (our local Rupert Murdoch owned tabloid) ran a story about about the shark above ... transformed of course into a 'man-eater' headed to New York (Everybody panic!  Think of the children!).  The reality of course is that Great Whites are part of New York's ecosystem and have always been just off-shore (conspicuously not eating surfers and bathers for hundreds of years as it turns out).  Maybe if we get to know them a little better we can start turning the PR around.  Check out the Oceansearch Website ... we really need to help these incredible creatures with their image and build the number of people demanding better protection for shark species.

Mary Lee (she shark above) moves along the coast from Florida to Massachusetts
I also saw a great story today featuring a Tiger Shark ... a BIG Tiger Shark.  I sort-of conceptually know that they are 'out there' off the East Coast but have never seen one.

This was a pretty big Tiger Shark captured and (mercifully) tagged off the Carolinas recently (See story here).  No doubt we'll see this tagged shark cruise the beaches of the East Coast over the coming months and again, not eating our children.

The website also has links to tagged Mako and Blue Sharks.  Makos in particular being over-fished by "sport" fishermen (why does killing a shark seem to be a substitute for manhood for some sad people?).

So check it out.  The more people are aware, the better the chances of conserving out apex marine predators.  Sharks in general could use a lot of PR help and this may be a start.

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