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Shark murder, and a poll

Hey, I was only joking when I said fishing rule breakers ought to be chopped up for shark chum, but some days…this story about fisherman bragging about killing a record 1300 lb mako shark gives me second thoughts. There’s nothing praiseworthy about exterminating a top predator, especially one that doesn’t threaten your terrestrial butt at all.

There is a poll, if you’d like to express your opinion.

Should sharks be protected from fishing?

Yes 86%

No 14%

Comments

  1. lostintime says

    After a two hour struggle we reeled it in. Well done. Now there’s one less endangered shark out there.

  2. microraptor says

    I was heartened to see that there were comments on the article condemning the killing.

    Of course, that would be expected given the overwhelming majority of votes in favor of protecting sharks in the poll.

  3. tccc says

    A HuffPo article says humans kill 100 million sharks of various species a year.

    This infographic drives the point home pretty well:
    http://ripetungi.com/shark-attack/

    The page also contains links to the source article and a few shark conservation related sites.

  4. mothra says

    Doulble standard! Polls on social issues always split the vote to get the outcome the pollsters want. So. . .

    Should shark fishing be illegal.
    Should shark fishing be regulated with sustainable quotas.
    Should shark fishing be permitted for family fishermen.

  5. No One says

    I’ve had a 12 foot Tiger shark single me out for inspection once. The other divers were busy taking pictures of it (thanks guys). I gave off my “I’m a predator too” vibe and she went back to circling like a good girl. She had a big fishing lure hanging out of her mouth, “Kilroy wuz here” written all over it.

  6. John Horstman says

    Mostly I just think killing things for fun/status should be illegal. You want to hunt sharks (or anything endangered for that matter) to feed yourself and your relations, fine. I gather that shark hunting isn’t generally subsistence behavior, however.

  7. embraceyourinnercrone says

    Personally I am not vegan or vegetarian, I also have many relatives who hunt and eat what they hunt. I am not against hunting per say, I do, however find it pretty barbaric and wasteful to cut parts off an animal (possibly before it’s even dead) and then throw most of the meat back to rot. I also don’t understand the lure of hunting an animal and mounting it on a wall but that’s just me.

    I do see problems with hunting an ecosystems apex predator, that doesn’t always work out so well… (I live in the Northeast, we are SURROUNDED by deer and where I live is not rural by any stretch of the imagination)

  8. andyo says

    Oh and unless everyone of you here is a hard core vegan you can get off your soap box about eating this, or any non-endangered animals.

    Funny, similarly moronic things are said by pro-bullfighting idiots. Can’t understand the moral difference between killing to eat and killing for spectacle and pride (and money).

  9. quidam says

    This deserves a thread of it’s own:

    It’s legal to murder prostitutes in Texas

    A Texas jury acquitted a man for the murder of a woman he hired as an escort, after his lawyers claimed he was authorized to use deadly force because she refused sex.
    Ezekiel Gilbert shot Lenora Ivie Frago in the neck on Christmas Eve, after she denied his requests for sex and wouldn’t return the $150 he had paid her, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Under Texas law, an individual is authorized to use deadly force to “retrieve stolen property at night,” and Gilbert’s lawyers cited that provision as justification for Gilbert’s action, reasoning that Frago had stolen $150 from him by taking his money without delivering sex.

    It goes along with this story

    Florida Man Shoots Wife’s Lover Dead, Jury Acquits Citing Stand Your Ground

    Ralph Wald, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran, walked into his home around midnight, and less than ten seconds later, fired three shots at Walter Conley, according to ABC News. He told the jury he thought Conley was raping his wife when he saw them having intercourse in his home. But during a 911 call, when the dispatcher asked Wald if the man was dead, Wald responded, “I hope so!” and refused to help the man. He asked for medical help for his wife, Johnna Flores, since he thought he accidentally shot her also.

  10. vaiyt says

    Under Texas law, an individual is authorized to use deadly force to “retrieve stolen property at night,”

    Hey! Since corporations are people, does that mean that loan sharks can shoot people now?

  11. quidam says

    I think it just means that you can shoot anyone you want, after all it’s your word against theirs and dead women have no voice.

    Certainly it seems that execution for failure to deliver on an unwritten contract allows a lot of leeway, as does “I thought he was raping my property”

  12. w00dview says

    Oh and unless everyone of you here is a hard core vegan you can get off your soap box about eating this, or any non-endangered animals.

    You might have a point if the fishermen killed this shark for food but they did not, it was just to show off what big tough manly men they were. It is the utterly pointless death of a apex predator that will feed no one but their egos. So sorry but any outrage at this is completely justified and not at all hypocritical.

    A Mako is not on the list of endangered sharks!

    The IUCN lists both longfin and shortfin mako species as Vulnerable and the population trends show they are decreasing. More moronic macho crap like this will quite easily send them to the ‘Endangered’ spot. Here are the IUCN links:
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/39341/0
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/60225/0

  13. natashatasha says

    I apologise in advance if this is an unreadable block of text — I’ve separated my paragraphs in the message window, but they all appear to be single-spaced in the preview, and I have no idea how to fix it.

    If you ask for ‘fish and chips’ in Australia, chances are the fish you get will be ‘flake’ — probably better known to non-Australians as ‘gummy shark’. While wholesale slaughter of the animals for fun and animal chow is disturbing (as I find it for any animal), why should sharks be protected when the intent is human consumption any more than, say, tuna?

    Are they significantly more intelligent than other fish (dolphins and whales, for example, are mammals much smarter than fish afaik)? Is there an argument for exchanging flake for another, harder to obtain fish, that couldn’t also be applied to the fish we’re switching to?

    I’m of the opinion that if we’re happy to kill some animals for food, that right should be extended to all animals with certain limitations. The first is intelligence — where we draw the line is arbitrary, but I like to think other simians and cetaceans are off the menu. In this case, is the shark significantly more intelligent than a cow or a pig? The second is rarity — I don’t want to hound a species to extinction. Those species of sharks that are in danger should be protected, but why should that be extended to related species that are more numerous?
    Note that I am also fine with these restrictions being so strict as to prevent the slaughter of animals for food, forcing us to be more sustainable with our food supply — that’s for the morality of the time and place, not for me to dictate.

    Obviously, I think while we’re in the habit of slaughtering animals for our own benefit (and not for fun — I dislike the slaughter of animals for ‘sport’ unless they’re going to be eaten) we should try to use as much of the animal as possible, so no just slicing off fins and throwing them back to die. However, restrictions on what animals can and can’t be slaughtered shouldn’t be applied in such a ham-fisted way — restricting an entire superorder for the sake of a few species within it seems silly when we can just protect those species that need protecting.

  14. says

    restricting an entire superorder for the sake of a few species within it seems silly when we can just protect those species that need protecting.

    Right, because you can automagically count on people to educate themselves and not actually hunt (or torture and kill to up their hormone level) just “those species”.

  15. natashatasha says

    Right, because you can automagically count on people to educate themselves and not actually hunt (or torture and kill to up their hormone level) just “those species”.

    What kind of sarcastic response is that? We have to prevent hunting of an entire superorder to protect individual species within it? We have some protected waterfowl, does that mean we have to ban the slaughter of all members of superorder Galloanserae? That would include things like ‘chicken’, by the way. Or maybe we could trust people to not kill specific species within the superorder.

    While we’re at it, we think eating whale is wrong, so instead of just protecting the species that we deem intelligent enough (every member of order Cetacea), let’s ban the entire superoder Laurasiatheria, which they inhabit! Goodbye pig and cow, dolphins need protection and so we need to let you go.

    Let’s not even get started on superorder Euarchontoglires; rabbit is nice and all, but cannibalism is illegal, so no eating hare that we may protect those defenceless humans.

    My point (somewhat sarcastically made in response to your own unjustified sarcasm) is that we can protect species without having to protect related, more numerous species. Just as I’m sure you see that it’s ludicrous to ban the hunting of rabbit because hunters won’t be able to restrict themselves from hunting humans, it’s silly to protect the gummy shark because the whale shark is having a hard time.

    That’s not to say I can’t envision a reason to prevent the hunting of rabbits or gummy sharks, just that protecting them should be done to protect them, or species that depend on them, not simply because they happen to sit in the same phylogenetic tree as a more vulnerable species.

  16. natashatasha says

    Right, because you can automagically count on people to educate themselves and not actually hunt (or torture and kill to up their hormone level) just “those species”.

    What kind of sarcastic response is that? We have to prevent hunting of an entire superorder to protect individual species within it? We have some protected waterfowl, does that mean we have to ban the slaughter of all members of superorder Galloanserae? That would include things like ‘chicken’, by the way. Or maybe we could trust people to not kill specific species within the superorder.

    While we’re at it, we think eating whale is wrong, so instead of just protecting the species that we deem intelligent enough (every member of order Cetacea), let’s ban the entire superoder Laurasiatheria, which they inhabit! Goodbye pig and cow, dolphins need protection and so we need to let you go.

    Let’s not even get started on superorder Euarchontoglires; rabbit is nice and all, but cannibalism is illegal, so no eating hare that we may protect those defenceless humans.

    My point (somewhat sarcastically made in response to your own unjustified sarcasm) is that we can protect species without having to protect related, more numerous species. Just as I’m sure you see that it’s ludicrous to ban the hunting of rabbit because hunters won’t be able to restrict themselves from hunting humans, it’s silly to protect the gummy shark because the whale shark is having a hard time.

    That’s not to say I can’t envision a reason to prevent the hunting of rabbits or gummy sharks, just that protecting them should be done to protect them, or species that depend on them, not simply because they happen to sit in the same phylogenetic tree as a more vulnerable species.

    Edit: It seems I stuffed up my tags without noticing; could someone with powers please delete my post above? This has the same content.

  17. stanton says

    I’ in the mood for shark steak now. Thanks PZ! Oh and unless everyone of you here is a hard core vegan you can get off your soap box about eating this, or any non-endangered animals. A Mako is not on the list of endangered sharks!

    If you actually bothered to read the article, the fishermen who caught this mako shark have no intention of eating it: they intend to let the carcass rot entirely, in fact.

    And if you actually bothered to read the comments here, we’re actually complaining about the waste of a good shark, and the immense ecological harm of killing sharks for sport and leaving the bodies to rot.

    So please take your pretentious whining about meat-eating privilege and shove it up your pretentious ass.

  18. says

    I was swimming at Huntington Beach, probably out a bit further than I should have been, when a 6-8 footer came within a couple feet of me. It took almost a full minute for the ‘holy shit, I might get eaten!’ to make it through the ‘OMG AWESOME SQUEEEE’ and have me heading back for shore.

    I remember a few years back, my uncles took me deer hunting. They had big kitted out rifles. I had a camera. They didn’t see a deer all weekend. A 12 point buck came out of the woods not 50′ from me, and I swear by Cthulhu the thing looked at me, noted the camera, and struck a pose. To me, that’s trophy hunting. Hiding up in a blind using a sight to get something 500′ away at the spot you baited, there is no fucking challenge there. Get up within 100′, wait for just the right moment, then snap the shot just as it realizes you are there and pulls it’s head up to look at you. That’s a challenge. That’s something to brag about.

  19. bad Jim says

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch notes:

    Most shark populations worldwide are at historically low levels due to serious overfishing. With just a few exceptions, shark is ranked “Avoid.”

    and warns of its high mercury content, but goes on to say

    A small number of shark populations in North America are managed more responsibly and have healthier populations. These “Good Alternatives” are common thresher and shortfin mako sharks caught in California and Hawaii, and spiny dogfish from British Columbia. However, unless these shark species can be sourced from these specific regions, we recommend that consumers “Avoid” all other shark products.

  20. Ex Patriot says

    This was the waste of a beautiful animal so a jackass can inflate his ego and his bragging rights.
    Sharks have been here for millions of years I believe, they are survivors and I only hope they can survive the biggest parasite of all on this planet, man

  21. birgerjohansson says

    Hmm. Too many assholes, too few sharks. I think we can work this out.

    (Splash! AAARGH!)
    (Repeat until you run out of assholes)

  22. says

    ericyoungstrom, so…you pride yourself on being the compleat piss cake. Take your nasty self somewhere for a nice walk. Preferably off a tall cliff. Ta.

    And take your sockpuppet caveman73 with you.

  23. says

    Chris:

    And take your sockpuppet caveman73 with you.

    Ohhhhh. That explains a great deal. Hmmm, has EricCavemanPissCake seen PZ’s new stance on persistent shitheads?