Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Image is shifting!

There goeth the gravitas :)

Great Stuff!

I was really happy to see this piece about Sharks in the Scientific American.
It clearly indicates a change of paradigm - or would you have expected to see any of the mainstream media, ever, use attributes like intelligent and curious when talking about Sharks, say, three years ago?
It's a frustratingly slow process but still, it really looks like exactly in the same way we've learned to appreciate the true nature of the terrestrial predators, Shark are slowly being recognized for being equally important - along with all of their species-specific and also individual traits that make them so fascinating for people like us..
25 years after Jaws, it's about bloody time!

Is there going to be backlash?
Sure there will be, as always - but the clock is ticking, literally and figuratively.
The likes of Capt'n Billy, Vic Hyslop and Mark the Shark are really just a sad and biologically extinct relic of yesteryear's mindset, as are the Shark kill tournaments and even the always frustrating stupid anti-Shark sound bites and stereotypes, and the attack-centric programming of Shark Week. We'll have to contend with plenty more of those - but the tide has clearly changed and is basically unstoppable, like the real thing out there.

What I also really do like is that as the article illustrates, Shark research has clearly shifted from being strictly academic or fisheries-oriented to being geared towards Shark conservation.
Nowhere is this more apparent as in the person of Doc Gruber who over time has become one of the most vocal proponents of Shark conservation. He is of course one of the, if not the absolute top dog in Shark research and thus brings to the table unequaled and irrefutable scientific knowledge and credentials, and decennia of hands-on experience, paired with the all-important gravitas (well, most of the time, see above) that only age can confer. When he opens his mouth, like right here, that counts for something!
The great thing about Doc is that like all of us old-timers, he has witnessed the collapse of Shark stocks and in his own life time and very much first hand, and thus does suffer from precisely zero symptoms of shifting baselines. Great to see what was very much a Shark catcher and Shark dissector in line with the ethics of the 70ies understand what's going on and become a fervent Shark protector instead! Great also to have a guy like him being recognized by all quarters, sometimes I suspect grudgingly - meaning that he can not only counter the anti-Shark propaganda of the forces of evil, but also the counterproductive pseudoscience of the Shark huggers!
Well done Doc - again!

Anyway, I'm totally digressing.
What I really wanted to say is, don't ever give up, especially not now.
We're clearly winning and although it's never gonna be easy and remains frustratingly slow especially considering the urgency of the problem, we will prevail in the end.

And that's a promise!

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