There are few things as universally terrifying as the seemingly infinite oceans, and few creatures that lurk within their depth induce the kind of primal dread humans feel about sharks. Some blame Jaws for warping popular perception of these fascinating leviathans, but I don’t buy that for a minute; Jaws was (and is) a reflection of our primal fears, not the cause of them. The fact that Steven Spielberg’s seminal horror movie has spawned so many imitators (like 47 Meters Down, which just opened Friday) is proof of this motif’s enduring power to terrify. Seriously, how many Millennials have even seen Jaws? Yet they’re just as afraid of what lies beneath as their elders.
We’re just about 6 weeks away from Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week, a block of programming that seeks to both exacerbate our universal fears and enlighten viewers about the actual nature of sharks, helping separate fact from fiction. Of course, knowing the science behind shark behavior and evolution doesn’t make night swimming any less terrifying (not for me at least!).
To that end, however, a conservationist poster has been making the rounds online; it uses the iconic imagery of the original Jaws poster in a clever way, one that more accurately reflects the relationship between man and this ancient apex predator. I couldn’t find the originator of this poster, despite a thorough Google Image search; if anyone knows the creator, please let me know so I can give him or her proper credit.
The poster is no doubt addressing the issue of finning. See, sharks aren’t hunted for sport, blubber, or even their meat: Sharks are hunted exclusively for their fins. It’s the main ingredient in a delicacy known as Shark Fin Soup and, ironically, the cartilage-thick fin adds little flavor to the dish. Check out the infographic below for some solid, sad, and enraging facts about finning.
Now if you’re really ready to have your mind blown, the infographic below puts the relationship between sharks and humans into a truly astonishing perspective. While sharks remain a universal fear that binds the bulk of humanity, they should really be scared of us. (Still, you won’t find me surfing off the coast of South Africa or Australia any time soon!).
What did you think of the poster & infographics? Have they changed your perspective on the relationship between sharks and humans? Let’s discuss in the Comments section!