Unfortunately, shark culling is not the only human-induced threat to marine species and the functioning of marine ecosystems. Here are just a few other issues that are threatening the existence of thousands of species globally:
Around 85% of Australia’s global fish stocks are over exploited. The use of industrial monster-sized Super Trawlers are leading scientists to forecast the collapse of all fish species within 50 years.
Image: Green Peace
According to Error 404 Fish, Super Trawlers can be more than 144 metres long, some of their nets big enough to hold 13 jumbo jets. Fleets of these boats are devastating fish populations in Australia. They also state that, “the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has been accused of covering up details after a shark was caught in the netting. This raises the question if fisheries are putting corporate interests ahead of the wellbeing of our marine species and biodiversity.”
Image source: Animals Australia
Overfishing results in a dangerous amount of by-catch, including sharks. It also disrupts ecosystems, and causes an often slow death to animals caught by either drowning or being crushed. Small-scale fishermen are also suffering from the use of Trawlers.
Overfishing also includes the practice of Bottom trawling, which includes total devastation of plant life on the ocean floor. The process involves a ship dragging enormous nets weighing several tonnes across the seafloor, destroying coral and sensitive seafloor life in the hope that fish will be collected.
To help put an end to the use of Super Trawlers in Australia, sign the petition here and follow the progress of Error 404 Fish, a campaign working towards informing the public on this issue and making a change.
Plastic pollution in our oceans is also a huge threat to all marine species, responsible for the death of over 100,000 sea mammals and one million sea birds every year through either starvation, ingestion or entanglement. It is expected that by 2050, the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish.
Image: Error 404 Fish
A particular contributor to this is straws. Did you know that over 10 million plastic straws and plastic bags are used in Australia every day. That’s 10 million pieces of non-recyclable plastic. According to Marine Conservation, “Almost 90% of the marine debris found on Sydney’s beaches is plastic, mostly bottles, caps and straws.”
Image source: The Plastic Bank
By banning the use and distribution of plastic straws it is possible that further legislative action will result in the use of eco-friendly plastic alternatives by manufacturers, and a world-wide, sustainable standard.
Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of fins from a shark, which once conducted usually results in the dumping of the sharks body out to sea. Usually, this shark is still alive, and once tossed back in the water is unable to swim, slowly sinking to the bottom until it is eaten alive. Shark fins are considered very valuable overseas, particularly for their use in shark fin soup. Although illegal, shark finning is still practised in Australia as it is run by a multi-billion dollar black market, where one pound of dried fin can be retailed at over $300.
According to Marine Conservation, “2015 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Australia exported 3038 kilograms of shark fin products to Hong Kong. 350 kilograms was also exported to Singapore. Into Australia, 1501 kilograms of shark fins was imported from China, 700 from Hong Kong, 447 from Indonesia, and 690 from the Philippines.”
Feature image source: EXPRESS