“So you want to tie both my arms off, And force feed me to sharks.”
-8 Stops 7, “Better”
It’s safe to say that we’re an obsessed culture. We love trash, we love smut, we love gossip, and we love things that we can talk about without ever really encountering. However, when we focus on something that is educational, information necessary for residents and visitors of, let’s say a coastal area somewhere, then it’s perfectly fine to overindulge.
Sharks. God damn Sharks. They’re amazing creatures; they’re beautiful as they are terrifying, and such a unique species that people marvel at their every move, bite, and eerie stalking, but sometimes they may just be out for a leisurely swim, they aren’t always hunting. Give the massive fish a break. I’m sure when you see a person walking down the street they aren’t always heading to a restaurant. Well, maybe the obese ones are.
Unlike obese people, sharks have been around for over 400 million years. Also unlike obese people, sharks workout because of their constant movement, and that allows them to feast on fatty seals and what not. Seals are like the fried chicken of the sea which makes manatees and walruses the chicken-fried steak with gravy of the sea. It’s okay though, they eat fish to balance out their diet. However, there’s more to a shark than their menu and their razor sharp teeth accompanied an extremely forceful bite.
This is why television dedicates a whole week to the fascinating creatures. It’s one of the most popular events in television for people to talk about and not really watch; however, there are viewers that are truly interested in learning about the mysterious predators of the ocean. Scientists and marine biologists dedicate their life to studying the creatures; they track their movement and distance traveled, how they mate, how they parent, they determine a shark’s hunting and eating patterns, discover new species, risk their lives to swim and study the body of the wild aquatic beasts, understand the force a shark contains, and of course, photograph those magnificent jaws everyone has become accustomed to obsessing about.
Society needs to be aware of what lurks in 70% of the earth, but not only from a human safety perspective, but also that of the species most of the world fears. Sharks are endangered, and we as humans are their only natural predator (except maybe Shamu and all his/her friends, but that’s mostly through defense or territorial disagreements. Oh, and the Kraken). It’s bad enough we pee in their home and mess things up by splashing around and what not; however, sharks are endangered because of threats that are the result of human activities including shark finning and getting caught in fishing gear. These are apex predators and play an important role in the health of the oceans. Without them, the entire food chain can be affected, negatively impacting the entire ecosystem (See The Wild, 2014). Even the strange ones that lurk in the dark deep that is the Pacific Ocean balance out the food chain. You know the place: the unfamiliar area where if there was any chance of opening a hole to another dimension, this would be it.
Despite our annual week-long coverage, we still aren’t completely certain about this amazing species. There will never be reassurance in the water; people are scared to even go into the pool after Shark Week. I know I was afraid of the deep end as a kid, and I don’t even think I was aware of Discovery Channel’s informative scare fest, if it was even around then. Please keep in mind that sharks don’t like the taste of people; they’re just afraid of us as we are of them, but I wouldn’t test that theory during the early morning or late afternoon hours (especially off the coast of South Africa). Also, think about this: sharks kill 10 humans a year; humans kill 20-30 million sharks a year (Discovery, 2014). For now, let’s deal with the sharks we have on land that are regularly televised throughout the year.
SEEtheWILD (2014). Retrieved from http://www.seethewild.org/15/shark-threats.html on August 15 2014
Discovery (2014). Retrieved form http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/shark-week/about-this-show/why-do-sharks-attack.htm on August 15 2014