For Shark Week: My Close Encounters with Sharks…

…are not nearly as exciting as one may think.

I mean, they were just sitting there. Of course I was careful not to make any sudden movements but still, basically they were just minding their own business.

whitetip shark, Tubbataha

whitetip shark, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. May 2010

But who am I kidding, of course I was excited! They’re sharks!

However, the next time I encountered sharks, it wasn’t exciting. It was sad.

shark fin

sacks and sacks of shark fins being sold at a store in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. July 2010.

A commonly-cited information on sharks is that in spite of their reputation for ferocity, shark attacks kill only about a dozen people each year. On the other hand, 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year. And that includes a great number that are just finned then left to die in the sea.

Now, 100 million is a pretty big number. If you need a graphic to help you visualize that, check out this link, and don’t forget to zoom in. (Source)

At this rate, obviously the shark population is dwindling. What happens if there were no more sharks? It’s actually going to cause a lot of trouble for us.

Here in the Philippines, generally fishers take and sell not just the fin but the whole shark, which is actually a little better because after all a fishing boat can only accommodate so many dead sharks but can certainly fit A LOT more if they just took the fins. And a finned shark is as good as dead.

At this point, I realized that my actual first encounter with a shark was not underwater but at a dining table. It was in Bicol. They served kinunot. Oops.

And according to this article, I may have eaten shark meat lots of times, or every time I eat fish balls. Whut.

But what I am sure of is that I have never eaten shark fin soup or shark fin siomai, and never will. I hope that goes the same for you too.

Stop the finning.

To learn more about sharks and other marine wildlife like dolphins, turtles, and dugongs, please like Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines on Facebook.

Recommended reading: Fighting for sharks in the Philippines.

2 thoughts on “For Shark Week: My Close Encounters with Sharks…

  1. Hello, there Rina.,
    My 7-year old son is a Shark fanatic. And that made us( me and my husband) wanting to buy him any shark stuffs we could afford. We bought him 2 shark books, shark toys(the plastic ones), stuffed toys, shark printed shirts, and more.

    But this shark finning would make him so sad for sure. As for now I won’t elaborate that much to him..


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