PUBLIC LECTURE: UWA Albany Skywest Lecture
|UWA Albany Skywest Lecture : Taking a bite out of fiction: When sharks and humans interact
If you believe in the sensationalist portrayal of sharks in some media and Hollywood movies then you probably think that it is only a matter of time before sharks sprout limbs and leave the water to hunt us down on land. However, when you look at the facts the reality is that shark populations are in trouble in Australia and around the world. Up to 73 million sharks are killed every year to satisfy an insatiable and unsustainable appetite for shark’s fin soup, a traditional Asian dish thought to signify great wealth and prosperity of those who consume it.
Most sharks serve as top predators at the pinnacle of the marine food pyramid and so they play a critical role in our ocean ecosystems. Directly or indirectly they regulate the natural balance of these ecosystems, at all levels, and are an integral part of them. As they usually hunt old, weak or sick prey, they help to keep the prey population in good condition, and therefore allow the healthy and strong animals to reproduce and pass on their genes. The effects of removing sharks from the ocean ecosystems, although complex and rather unpredictable, are likely to be ecologically and economically devastating.
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