Shark Links: Feb 20, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2011 State of the Superorder Address

2011 State of the Superorder Address
February 26, 2011
United States Shark Blogger 'Calvin Requin'

CALVIN REQUIN: Members of TGSI, friends, enemies, distinguished guests, and fellow hominids:

      The Constitution of the United States of America declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of the union. The leaders of the United States have fulfilled this duty for more than 220 years. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they've done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggle. After hearing great accounts of what is happening globally to the oceans I have decided to speak with you tonight to discuss the state of the superorder Selachimorpha.
      I know that I am not an expert on marine biology or foreign relations. However, every day I read the tens of articles, view the numerous pictures, and feel the state of our oceans and superorder through the attitudes and tones of friends and enemies alike. Every day I see the atrocities that humans bear on our sharks; I also see individuals of the same species as those ignorant beings express their dissatisfaction with the way that others treat sharks. They fight diligently without ever accepting compromise. As we move on into the future I hope that others will join the growing number of thoughtful citizens of this planet against the exploitation of our sharks.
      For every atrocity there is a success in the effort to ensure that these unique animals survive into the next century. There are consistently people like Bucky Dennis, Vic Hislop, Tom Coburn, Leland Yee, and others who do not see sharks in the same light as my friends and I do. More and more sources are stating and sourcing the horrifying prediction that the oceans will be void of edible fish by the middle of the century. Statistics are showing that two thirds of oceanic shark species are threatened with extinction. Shark populations are declining albeit they have been slaughtered to more than ninety percent of their original population. Ecosystems and the delicate balance of the predator-prey relationships in the oceans have been drastically disturbed. The North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is expected to become extinct from overfishing while their breeding grounds were soiled by the BP TransOcean spill in 2010. Our oceans are failing to keep up with our increasing demand for fish. Bycatch is indiscriminately killing tons upon tons of animals. Humans fear sharks more than chairs yet less people are killed by sharks than chairs annually. The public is continually barraged by the media with fear and hatred against sharks.
      I know of the difficulties and struggles and anxieties that the defenders of the oceans face every day. These struggles are not stemmed from everyday citizens, but their actions can exacerbate even the minor details on oceanic dealings. I would not be discussing these struggles with any of you if I was one of the enemies of the ocean. They are the weak ones who are making the troubles for everyone else, although we are all part of the problem and solution to oceanic policies. A colleague of mine once explained to me that every day ninety percent of their work is with the worst ten percent of people; most of those reading this are part of the ninety percent of people who follow rules and do good without incentive. It's when I realize this that I am hopeful about the future of the oceans and our superorder.
      Within this year I hope to make my blog, Shark Links, fully functional giving you up-to-date information, articles, petitions, and objectives on the conservation of our superorder. I will provide resource materials for anyone to use; everybody has the right to be able to preserve the superorder, and we all need to be able to have what is necessary to carry out our thoughts into actions. I will be adding a page on education where anyone can become a 'shark expert' by learning more about our unique, important, misunderstood, and awesome superorder. I will ask the pro-shark community on their views on such things as how to confront restaurants serving shark fin soup, the best way to educate the public, the all-to-familiar Shark Week by the Discovery Channel, the controversial chumming issue, and others so that we all can reach a consensus and become united against the exploitation of sharks. We can be hopeful about the future of sharks, but we must face a reality.
      We cannot continue to think that we are out of this pit that we have been thrown into by the media, traditions, hatred, and bigotry. We have yet to win the battle against misinformation. I know for certain that my brethren are strong. They will fight until either there is nothing left to fight for or for an eternity. We cannot sit on the sidelines waiting for someone else to go into battle to fight and win the war. We will not give up, and we will not quit. As Margaret Mead states, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Even if the people of this blue planet all realized the true power, mind, spirit, and importance of the shark and even fought for their lives, we would still be in a conundrum. Sharks are meant to reproduce slowly. They were meant to live long lives. Humans have slaughtered sharks mercilessly to the point where it will take years, decades, and possibly even centuries for some shark populations to be restored. That is only if we act now. Now is the time to save these awesome creatures! Save them before even they cannot save themselves. To think that we are contemporaries with some of the greatest animals in the world only to be the ones inflicting a great massacre on them is absolutely shameful, horrifying, and rueful.
      We are the human race and we can ensure that these species survive. Not saving sharks is not only self-centered. It's suicide. Humans cannot risk finding out how important these apex predators are. There should be no debate over whether or not to protect a species.
      When I say 'humans' I do not just mean those affected directly by sharks. We the people of this planet own the oceans. Never forget that. We all have the responsibility and willpower to determine their future—our future. We will, we can, and we must do everything we can to save the sharks. It has been demonstrated in many cases from the banning of shark finning in Hawaii to Guam, the increasingly important finding by Sharklet that the properties of shark skin can be replicated to stop the spread of germs, the actions of individuals from TGSI to the Shark Finatics, and the mass organization of individuals to help stop the slaughter of sharks including the Facebook activity of going Red for the Chinese New Year.
      I have seen the power of the human spirit. It is great, overpowering, sacred, and has an attitude that says, “We can do anything we want, but what we want to do is make this the best world possible.” It is because of our people that our future is hopeful. It's when I realize this that I am hopeful about the future of the oceans and our superorder. Let us start this decade fighting harder and more than we ever did before. We must ensure the conservation of our oceans and our superorder. They are our oceans. Fight for them not only because it is right for the continuation of species, but fight for our oceans and sharks because they belong to us. I will not quit fighting for the oceans. We will never quit fighting for them. Even if our race fails to preserve our world, our world will endure. We are not going to save the planet; we are going to save ourselves and preserve the planet.
      The state of the superorder is improving, and it will forever improve if you join me and others in the fight for the conservation of our oceans, our superorder, and our planet. Thank you for reading, may our planet prosper, and may we all do our best to preserve the state of the superorder.

---> Calvin Requin <---

---> Calvin Requin <---