Sunday
Nov222009

European sharks need your help!

Did you know that European waters have around 130 species of sharks, including the VERY cool Porbeagle (which looks like a minature Great White) and the beautiful Spur Dogfish that can live for 120 years?

I didn't, possibly because I haven't been sea fishing, and I'm a fair-weather Diver who likes at least 30 metres of visibility and temperatures upwards of 18˚C!

Incredibly, one third of European shark species are now threatened with extinction. Many are caught by European boats for their fins, which are sold in Asia for Sharkfin soup. Finning is technically illegal in Europe but the laws are full of loopholes and it still happens on a massive scale.

Sharks are also caught for everyday food. That 'Rock Cod' you got from the Fish & Chip shop? It's a Dogfish. Some species don't breed until they're 20 years old, and then they only have a handful of pups, so even to take ONE out is a big deal.

We don't know exactly what impact these extinctions would have. In Tasmania the fishermen wiped out the sharks, which then didn't eat the octopus (octopi?), who bred like.. er... rabbits, then ate ALL the lobsters - and completely destroyed Tasmania's lobster-fishing industry. So there's probably a good economic case to protect our sharks, as well as an obvious moral one.

Archipelago (our design company) was commissioned by The Shark Alliance to produce an animation for European Shark Week. It sets the scene and explains what we need to do. You can see the animation here. Please take a moment to sign the petition - European sharks need your help!

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