Object of all fantasies, the great white shark fascinates as much as it terrifies. This super predator is also threatened with extinction.
The Great White Shark, otherwise known as Carcharadon carcharias, belongs to the Lamnidae family and the Lamniformes order. Being able to measure more than 5 m in length, it evolves mainly in the waters of Australia, South Africa, California and the Caribbean. It lives alone or in pairs and travels thousands of kilometers in search of its food. This consists of tuna, swordfish, sea turtles, seals, dolphins among others. At the top of the food chain, he only fears humans and killer whales. In addition, it actively participates in the regulation of underwater life.
Sometimes making headlines due to his attacks on humans, he's actually not a threat. Indeed, man is not a prey for the shark. His unfortunate attacks are the result of a visual misinterpretation.
Steven Spielberg helped stick him with the label of a formidable, near-indestructible killer. The reality is unfortunately quite different. The great white, and with it, 17 other species of sharks are among the endangered species. Classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the species was added to Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( in English Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, CITES).
Several reasons explain the disappearance of the great white as well as other species:
- Global warming which is transforming the marine environment.
- Pollution of the oceans through dumped waste which contributes to disrupt reproduction cycles.
- Coastal development.
- Intensive fishing with practices that destroy and upset the balance of marine ecosystems.
Among all the causes of the shark's disappearance, fishing, whether accidental or not, is the one that wreaks the most havoc. . “The situation is much worse than we imagined,” said Nicholas Dulvy, co-chair of the IUCN shark expert group.
The shark is hunted for its flesh and its fin. The "sharq finning" or finning in French is a cruel practice which ravages gigantic quantities of sharks. This fishing consists in capturing sharks to cut their fins and the caudal fin then to throw them alive mutilated in the sea. The Chinese are crazy about fins. Shark fin soup is a popular dish in China reserved for special occasions such as weddings. But this is not the only use. Traditional Chinese medicine gives shark fin and cartilage therapeutic virtues, unproven to date. Its liver is used to make oil and its skin leather accessories. What about tourists happy to have a necklace with a shark's tooth.
As the NGO Greenpeace reminds us: “The shark fin trade is growing. Very profitable, a kilo of fins is negotiated between 300 and 500 euros. The benefits being rapid and significant, fishing can only intensify. The boom in the Asian economy, and therefore in the standard of living of these populations, leads to an increased demand for fins. "
Studies have shown that "by controlling the populations of fish and crustaceans that feed on phytoplankton and algae, sharks maintain the production of oxygen in the ocean. The oceans produce 70% of the dioxygen that humans breathe, if sharks were to disappear, the food chain would be disrupted to the point of modifying oceanic and terrestrial ecosystems "
Once again, greed and the weight of tradition breed cruelty and destruction. So is it so complicated to detach yourself from certain practices, be they cultural or traditional, in order to find clairvoyance and humanity? Will contempt for life pay off until the last hour?