My Sea Shepherd


 

A 4th Grader’s Plea to Stop Killing Sharks

September 3, 2008

A 4th Grader’s Plea to Stop Killing Sharks


credit ©Eric H. Cheng

Shark conservation is so critical, and the need for protection so obvious, that even a fourth grader gets it. In the words of Fiona, an articulate and compassionate ten-year-old girl from California:

"Life on land depends on life underwater to thrive. Therefore, we must conserve sharks and let them be in peace roaming the waters in which they belong."

Fiona goes on to say:

"Our world has the power to change this, and if we try to spread the fact that sharks are vital to our daily living, shark finning laws can change. This creates a safer life for all species of sharks and us humans."

It just doesn't get any simpler or more truthful than that.

Shark conservation is so critical, and the need for protection so obvious, that even a fourth grader gets it. In the words of Fiona, an articulate and compassionate ten-year-old girl from California:

"Life on land depends on life underwater to thrive. Therefore, we must conserve sharks and let them be in peace roaming the waters in which they belong."

Fiona goes on to say:

"Our world has the power to change this, and if we try to spread the fact that sharks are vital to our daily living, shark finning laws can change. This creates a safer life for all species of sharks and us humans."

It just doesn't get any simpler or more truthful than that.

"If a 10-year-old can so easily connect the dots on these issues, then what is the matter with the rest of us?" said Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. "The time to act is now!"

"Fiona is a true hero of the sharks and an ambassador and leader for her generation," said Kim McCoy, International Executive Director of Sea Shepherd. "We have named her an honorary Shark Angel in recognition of her work to protect these magnificent creatures."

Please read below for Fiona's full letter:

April 30, 2008

Dear Mr. Al Gore,

I am a fourth grader attending [elementary school] in Saratoga, California. My class has been researching ecosystems and the habitats of certain animals. When my teacher told me that sharks were being killed for the wasteful use of shark fin soup, I was outraged. To the general population, killing sharks is a minor job. But our world would be a much different place if sharks were to go extinct. Sharks regular diet consists of fish, which eat phytoplankton. If sharks were to go extinct, the fish population would overgrow and they would be eating all the phytoplankton in the water. 70 percent of the world's oxygen comes from the phytoplankton in the ocean. Life on land depends on life underwater to thrive. Therefore, we must conserve sharks and let them be in peace roaming the waters in which they belong.

Shark fin soup is a Cantonese cuisine delicacy, commonly served as part of a Chinese feast, usually at special occasions such as weddings and banquets as a symbol of wealth and prestige. People have coveted shark fin soup more than usual for the last generation. We depend on sharks to live, and by killing one of the most important animals of the marine ecosystem, we are killing ourselves as well. It is human nature to be frightened of sharks. But if you look into the facts, how dangerous are they really? Sharks kill five people a year, tigers and lions kill one-hundred, and starvation eight million. Sharks only kill humans because they misidentify us as seals or sea lions, common animals as part of their diet. Sharks are not very harmful, and people need to learn the truth. We kill 70 million sharks a year for precious shark fin soup, and fishermen don't want to come to a stop because there is big money in the shark finning industry. Shark finning is not against the law in international waters. It is killing our planet and has major consequences the people need to see.

Only 16 countries have banned shark finning. In international waters, there are no set laws against killing sharks. It is a crime, and should be stopped immediately. The people of today are environmentally destructive, and countries should realize this and put a stop to it. One way of improving this is to end the daily catch of sharks. We kill 15,000 every two hours. We are near extinction of some shark species, and the amount of sharks still swimming in waters in dangerously low. Our world has the power to change this, and if we try to spread the fact that sharks are vital to our daily living, shark finning laws can change. This creates a safer life for all species of sharks and us humans. Sharks keep the balance of marine life.

Shark finning must come to an end, and it begins with the world population's belief to make the biggest difference. As a group, we can stop this injustice, but that means a global realization has to be spread.

Sincerely,
Fiona S.
10 years old



 

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