Although sharks are some of the most feared creatures in the ocean, they do have to look out for certain predators that are even more deadly: humans. We have hunted them so much that their numbers are being depleted to dangerous levels. It is almost to the point that extinction is imminent, and that will lead to a severe imbalance of the underwater ecosystem.
Saltwater fishing is done for sport and for commercial purposes. However, the seafood industry has already seen numerous changes regarding overfishing. For example, sharks are the main predator of cow-nosed rays. The main food source for cow-nosed rays are scallops. Due to the minimal number of sharks, the cow-nosed rays population has risen, and as a result of that, scallops are becoming harder to find. This obviously impacts the seafood and restaurant industry.
So why are sharks being hunted so much? One of reasons is because of their fins. In some countries, such as China, fin soup is considered a delicacy. Unfortunately, many times their fins are removed while they’re still alive and they are thrown back into their natural habitat, where they later pass away. Their meat is also a popular dish in many places throughout the world. Their skins have also been used to make shoes. Governments in numerous countries have passed legislation banning fishing of them, but the problems continues because there aren’t enough resources to enforce the laws and punish the offenders.
Although there’s little doubt that sharks are scary, a more frightening prospect is the fact that many species are headed to extinction. The infamous Great White is listed as an endangered species. Other species, such as the hammerhead, are inching closer to being put on that list every year. The bottom line is that changes need to be made and then implemented in order for these incredible fish to survive, or the world’s oceans are going to be irrevocably changed and their ecosystems will be damaged even more.