Stop killing sharks

PHUKET: I came across awful images of a man gutting a juvenile blacktip reef shark on Facebook via Go Eco Phuket and was horrified to see that it happened on one of our local beaches, Kata Noi (story here).

It was clear that this man was a spear fisherman from the wetsuit he was wearing and the spear hole on the shark’s right side. It saddens me to see that people who are supposed to understand and respect the local environment abuse it in such a way. Or maybe they are just unaware of the damage they are causing.

As many divers in Phuket will tell you, over the years shark numbers have dwindled. This incident is particularly alarming as the shark pictured appears to be a juvenile. Sharks can take many years to reach sexual maturity. The killing of these young sharks means there will be even fewer in the future.

In the past few years, there have been major campaigns fighting for shark protection, yet I still meet people who have never heard of them. I believe that education is a powerful tool that we can use to help future generations better understand how to protect and care for their environment, on land and underwater.

On March 6, I attended a presentation by Shark Guardian, a UK-based charity dedicated to shark awareness and conservation, at the Green Man in Chalong. They are doing some amazing work, travelling to different schools and educating youths about sharks and why we should protect them.

Unfortunately, there are few laws to protect sharks in Thailand. However, I believe that we as a community have a duty to keep our environment healthy.

Sharks are a vital part of our marine ecosystem. They help maintain a balance within the food chain, which in turn helps our reefs to stay healthy and alive. If sharks disappear, our reefs will suffer and so
will we.

People will pay money to go snorkelling or diving with sharks; there is a huge tourism market there, but sadly it is being damaged by acts like this. Please learn about the local environment before heading out into it.

— Melanie Long

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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