The sad story of a mutilated shark
She was breathtakingly beautiful as her four-meter long body rose towards the surface of the Indian Ocean.In the crystal clear water, each of her intricate markings could be seen. She was (Alopias Vulpinus), the largest of the Thresher Shark family with a tail as long as her muscular body and far more lethal than her small harmless jaws. Although she looked very big, her body was only two meters long with her impressive tail adding on the additional two meters to her length. This was a young animal, not yet sexually mature, with several more years ahead before she would mate and give birth to three young. Her bluish green back broke the surface of the calm Indian and for several seconds she displayed her glistening back to a wondering Albatross. She was not capable of understanding why she could not return to the depths to where she wanted to be or why the small, almost inconspicuous piece of sardine, had caused her so much pain and discomfort. For several hours now, she had been fighting against something impaled deep in her throat, but now she was exhausted, too exhausted, to even panic and to weak to resist her alien attacker.
Two meters above her, the most efficient and deadly predator on earth took careful aim, hesitated for a second, and then struck with perfect precision. The steel talons pierced her soft skin and sank deep into the back of her neck, sending an electric pain through her limp body as she was lifted from the water, and deprived of her dignity. The predator had no time to waste on her, it had others to hunt, so it released its grip and sent her crashing to the cold and blood soaked steel deck of the 3000 ton factory ship. The fall onto the hard deck violently extinguished what little remaining strength she might have had.She lay motionless on her side with one of her eyes submerged in the blood of her cousins, which had come to the same traumatic end just moments before. The strange noises which she could faintly hear around her, were the voices of the men laughing and joking as they walked in her blood. One of these men grabbed her beautiful long tail, the tail which had propelled her through the oceans for nine years, and in a quick flash of steel, cut it right off. He tossed the tail onto a pile of other tails and then with the same expert precision, He quickly cut her high dorsal fin and two big pectoral fins off. She lay there with her eyes wide open, with a body reduced from a magnificentoceanic predator to a now mutilated and useless carcass on a cold steel deck. There was no more pain, and she could barely feel the two steel hooks pierce her body, or the rough deck as she was dragged over it towards the other side of the ship.
The two men stopped dragging her, and started pushing and kicking her towards the edge of the deck. She was in their way now and they wanted to get rid of her body as quickly as possible. A moment later she fell back into her beloved world, which only minutes ago was her existence, but was now to become her grave. She could not swim anymore so she floated slowly down into the depths and died. She was not the only animal to be butchered and murdered for her fins that day, she was one of thousands of sharks of different species, and by the end of only one year, she would be just one of a 150 million sharks to be wasted for the finning trade. These millions of sharks are subjected to trauma and huge stress while struggling on long lines, sometimes for hours, are cruelly butchered and crippled on the decks of boats, and are then wasted as they are dumped into the ocean. These are animals, just as dogs, cats, lions and rabbits are animals, so why should it be legal to subject them to such cruel treatment. As far as we are concerned, the finning of a shark is nodifferent to the skinning of live terrestrial animals, so just as we would go to any length to stop the cruelty to land animals, so to should we protect and conserve the animals of our oceans.