LETTER: Sensationalist press vilifies sharks, praises rednecks

Tony Baker, Speaking Out
Cody Harlan, left, Robert Trutt and Jonathan Cook hauled in this 277.7-pound (gutted weight) bull shark on Thursday, bare handed.

It was with absolute shock and horror that I read a recent article by Tina Harbuck on thedestinlog.com entitled "Jaws versus bare hands — a fish tale like no other as guys grab shark by the tail."

Essentially all this article amounts to is the glamorization of three "rednecks" beating a struggling animal to death.

Indeed, since the animal was still alive, as one man Cody points out in the article, things could have gone wrong. In which case this incredible tale of three men performing a foolish stunt and overcoming no odds to kill a helpless animal would have been a tragic vilification of all sharks, as one or more of these men were accidentally bitten by a panicked and frightened organism now being dragged backwards by unknown forces, and trying to defend itself.

It is sensationalist press like this that continues to support the notion that the only good shark is a dead shark. Indeed, with more than 90 percent of their populations wiped out in the last 40 years, and massive increases in fishing pressure due to a demand for shark fins, what we are left with is a fragile ecosystem hanging in the balance.

Sharks provide an incredibly important role in the oceans; they eat the sick and diseased animals, thereby increasing the fitness of all populations. They keep in check reef-destroying organisms thereby maintaining coral reefs. Indeed their loss has seen mass explosions in squid and jellyfish populations, two organisms that are now choking the seas and stripping them of fish.

I ask you in the future to refrain from publishing such damaging articles, especially ones that glamorize the death of any wildlife.

Tony Baker Exeter, U.K.

To read The Log's shark story, click here.