Will You Even Notice When The Sharks Are All Gone?
Why do we need to Save the Sharks? What will actually happen to you if we kill them all and there are none left in the sea? Will you even notice?
These pictures were taken at a fish market in Lombok, Indonesia. One of thousands in just this one country. The people responsible for these dead sharks are just every day, local people. They aren't very well off. They aren't trying to cause environmental devastation. They're just normal people, trying to make a living under a system that does not recognise unsustainable human behaviour as dangerous. If you aren't from an area where this sort of thing regularly happens, they might not feel very relevant to you. But it is happening. And the knock-on effects are relevant to you. They're relevant to all of us.
Sound unlikely? Terrifyingly, that's all true. Sharks are crucial to life for the human race as we know it. But how can they possibly play such a huge role?
Scallops are also suspension feeding bivalves - they filter water and have a measurable positive effect on its quality - https://www.nap.edu/read/12802/chapter/9 - They protect shallow waters by removing inorganic particles and phytoplankton from the water column. This buffers the effects of eutrophication, clarifies the water and transfers nutrient rich particulates to the bottom where they can be used to support seagrass beds and other habitats that form essential nurseries for thousands of species.
Without networks like these working in harmony, fundamental changes to the ocean ecosystem start to affect the movement and retention of carbon within the sea - all living things contain carbon and the sea has absorbed more than half of all carbon emissions since the industrial revolution ( http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0715_040715_oceancarbon.html ) - it can take a lot. But upsetting the complex network of the ocean ecosystem beyond a certain point leads, in the words of Marine Conservationist Professor Steve Oakley, to something "hot, sour and empty".