Now, anytime a shark ends up in the news, it’s always met with criticism. People respond in multiple ways, often culminated due to the media wanting a fearful response to an otherwise normal happening. So this brings me to how the public generation responds.
The first response for sharks is always fear. The general public loves to think sharks don’t exist and when they’re fished up, the only good shark is a dead shark. It’s rather unfortunate, but this attitude has reigned supreme since the movie Jaws successfully damned millions of sharks to die through human ignorance. These sharks used to be relatively common and more frequently larger than this reported size.
Alternatively, there is often an opposite reaction with extreme environmentalists voicing their concerns for the animals. You’ll always to every social media comment of fear, at least someone voicing their concerns for the animal or attacking those interacting with them. I saw one comment on this video of someone believing the shark pregnant, putting down the act of fishing the animal to begin with. Naturally comments like this are meant to gather attention for themselves, especially since not even scientists can tell if a shark is pregnant just by looking at it in the water. While it is important to consider the health, it’s more important to educate those who fear sharks instead of chastising them or the fisherman. There’s a fine line where promoting conservationism can become damaging to future relations with the fisherman. Past that, it's really great that fisherman such as these are now willing to work with scientists. Fishing will never go away, and there must be a common ground between animal conservation and meeting the needs of the people.
Scientists and fisherman working together
The fact that local fisherman, especially one who works with a reputable Sport Fishing business, is reporting and helping tag his catches and not kill them, is incredible. This is exactly the kind of response our public should be giving to these incredible and at-risk animals. Most of us already know about shark finning, and if you don’t please pause and Google that immediately, and there’s ample evidence of how shark populations have dropped across the world and the effects to the ecosystems isn't good.
Here, shark tracking is being implemented on their catches. This is an incredibly beneifical tool scientists use in marine conservation. It reveals to scientists patterns which can prioritize protection zones for nursery and feeding zones as well as evaluate climate change's effects on shark movement and distrubution. Please read more on this exciting research over at National Geographic. Outcast Sport Fishing is working directly with scientists and providing their findings to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.
Outcast Sport Fishing video of the great white shark being released post-tagging, 12/31/16.
As for the shark being declared a monster (see CBS News) this is a news grab at drawing fear and attention from their readers. It’s very unfortunate that these sharks are not reported in such a scientific or ecological light. They’re very important apex predators in maintaining a balance in the food webs. Their sizes have overall come down over the years as most the giants have been fished and killed off. So the average size of great whites around 50 years ago was several feet larger than today. Behemoths used to be seen commonly over 20+ feet in size. Today, that’s an unheard of figure. Another reason these sharks are no longer seen at these sizes has to do with fisherman’s preferences for catching and killing the largest sharks they can find. This means that sharks with genetics for being big, are being removed from the ecosystem. Big sharks make big sharks; small sharks make small sharks. It’s the same with people, it’s the same with fish. This is called overfishing and it’s something humans are doing which is depleting the quantity and reducing the size of sharks and all consumable fish, while also altering the populations of those fishes’ prey items.