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  • Writer's pictureMako

Tragedy - for humans and for sharks

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

How come that one shark fatality in sixty years in Sydney sends the media into a frenzy and makes headlines all over the world, while the fact that more than 100 million of sharks are slaughtered every year is seldom, if ever, mentioned?

What happened at Sydney Buchan Point a couple of days ago was a great tragedy and we sympathise with the family and friends of the British national who died there in a shark attack while swimming. At the same time, the reaction of world media, including social media, to this unfortunate incident raises a serious question of what sort of game the media plays in demonizing sharks and some other sea creatures.

On Wednesday some tabloids used the sensational language such as “particularly nasty shark”, “killer predator with taste for humans”, “vicious shark”, and “officials are now hunting for the killer”. Some websites are even advertising unedited images and videos of the unfortunate event.

However tragic this incident is, it is the only one in Sydney in the last sixty years. There are only around 8 fatal shark attacks per annum in the world. And all of them happen in the sharks’ environment and mainly due to mistaken identity. Sharks do not specifically target humans. A swimming human looks like another fish or sea creature they usually prey on. Nevertheless, it seems that every such incident is followed by an open season of shark hunting.

The media need to look at these facts and take some responsibility for the consequences of sensational reporting of very rare shark attacks. Humans kill more than 100 million sharks every year, of which more than 60 million are slaughtered just for their fins.

Sharks play an essential role in the health of the oceans. They are a vitally important species, and we destroy them at our own peril.

It would be a very good thing if some of these figures and facts could be brought to the attention of the public. With some imagination and creativity, it could be made as sensational as one shark attack in Sydney in the last sixty years.


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