fish

Why Shark Finning Needs To End

Imagine being thrown into the ocean without any ability to defend yourself or receive oxygen, that is what sharks experience after finning. Shark finning is defined as the practice of removing the fins off of a shark and discarding the shark, typically by throwing the living shark back into the ocean. People do this to sharks in order to sell their fins, typically as food or trophies. Collectors typically pay $10,000-$20,000 per fin.

Well of course, shark finning isn’t that bad, right? Sharks are mean creatures who enjoy killing innocent humans only trying to enjoy a day at the beach! Well really, sharks aren’t that bad! The highest known record for worldwide shark attacks is ninety-eight, taking place in 2015. Worldwide, the average amount of shark related deaths is eight and in 2016, there were only four worldwide shark related deaths. Especially endangered by shark finning is the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini), and there is no document of a hammerhead ever killing a human.

The finned shark is typically thrown back into the ocean, leaving them completely defenseless. Once dumped in the ocean, the shark will most likely die of suffocation from their lack of ability to filter water through their gills. Or, another common possibility is being eaten by a predator who finds them defenseless. An estimated seventy three million sharks are finned each year and that number is possibly up to one hundred million. Sharks mature slower and breed later in life, around thirty years old, as well as breed less babies or ‘pups’ as baby sharks are called. This is called K-Selection and causes an inability in sharks to keep up with their mortality rate from shark finning. Over the last fifty years, some shark species have experienced drops in as much as eighty percent of their population.

This doesn’t only affects sharks either, overfishing of sharks negatively affects coral reefs too. Imagine a coral reef once healthy and full of coral, ending up overrun by algae. Coral reefs are kept clean by parrotfish and carnivorous fish feed on these parrotfish. Sharks, being apex predators on the top of the food chain, often eat these carnivorous fish. Without sharks these fish thrive and with a larger population of these fish, they eat more parrotfish. Coral reefs can fill up with algae due to the decreasing population of parrotfish.

So, shark finning is a problem, but how can we help?

Obviously, if you are participate in shark finning, you should stop continuing this practice. Otherwise, the best place to start is just with staying aware. Do not consume, purchase or sell shark fins and don’t support places or people who do. Additionally, consider signing petitions you find on shark finning, donating to campaigns to end shark finning, spreading the word about shark finning (especially online) and asking places which serve shark fins to stop.

Written with the hope of ending this practice, Daring Orca.

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A note from our co-founder, Dorky Shark:

Daring Orca is one of our new writers! I’m really looking forward to having her on long term. There’s a small behind-the-scenes figuring-out going on, and we’ll know for sure if she’s officially joining our team soon. It’s part of a larger figuring-out - you may have noticed we’re being kind of quiet right now, other than publishing a few articles. One thing that would really help cement Daring Orca’s status here is if you all followed a simple rule…if you like this post, like this post! There’s a like button down at the bottom. As usual, feel free to comment and share!

The Controversy Of Plastic Straws / The Monotony Of Progress

8/1/18

Early in July, Seattle banned single-use plastic straws and utensils.  

San Francisco is poised to do the same.

As are many companies, including the Great Wolf Lodge lodging business.

Good, right? 

I thought so. 

Okay, fine, for all intents it is very good. But not for all purposes. (I separated two parts of a common phrase. I love language.) There are some complications involved that not too many people are willing to face. Not too many people even know the real negative impact this could have. I only knew because it was pointed out to me, on Instagram:  

This post traveled fast like a meme. Multiple users with quite a few followers have posted this, and the slides that follow, including @avengersimscreaming, a fandom/feminism/textpost account. That's where I saw the post.

This post traveled fast like a meme. Multiple users with quite a few followers have posted this, and the slides that follow, including @avengersimscreaming, a fandom/feminism/textpost account. That's where I saw the post.

Instagram has had a new update where you can share multiple photos in one post. These images were all shared at once.

Instagram has had a new update where you can share multiple photos in one post. These images were all shared at once.

So this is essentially a chart showing the common plastic straw and known alternatives. It shows that plastic straws, for their chemical make-up and structure, are the only (known) truly safe straw for disabled people.

So this is essentially a chart showing the common plastic straw and known alternatives. It shows that plastic straws, for their chemical make-up and structure, are the only (known) truly safe straw for disabled people.

Here's someone replying to that image. I had no idea some people could be allergic to straw material. But alright. We can still work with this.

Here's someone replying to that image. I had no idea some people could be allergic to straw material. But alright. We can still work with this.

Yes, there are  definitely  more harmful things to focus on, but I personally believe that with the environmental issues at least, we should get rid of  all  harmful things. Not just the big harmful things. You'd be surprised how the small harmful things add up. And we have to start somewhere. Not too many people will be willing to start big and work smaller. Motivationally speaking, the opposite works better.

Yes, there are definitely more harmful things to focus on, but I personally believe that with the environmental issues at least, we should get rid of all harmful things. Not just the big harmful things. You'd be surprised how the small harmful things add up. And we have to start somewhere. Not too many people will be willing to start big and work smaller. Motivationally speaking, the opposite works better.

Listen, Annie, I've researched you since first viewing the Instagram post. You're cool, and it's cool that you're encouraging dialogue about environmental accountability. (I would love to talk to you, as a disabled person who cares a lot about the natural world.) But no need to all caps this conversation we're all having. The decision to ban straws - no one actively thinks, "Hey, it's time to kill and injure a lot of people!" We're all just trying to do what's best for the world. It's just not working out so great. Maybe the U.S. education system failed us.  ❤️  (Click      here      to view Annie's YouTube channel. She's pretty popular, and for good reason.)

Listen, Annie, I've researched you since first viewing the Instagram post. You're cool, and it's cool that you're encouraging dialogue about environmental accountability. (I would love to talk to you, as a disabled person who cares a lot about the natural world.) But no need to all caps this conversation we're all having. The decision to ban straws - no one actively thinks, "Hey, it's time to kill and injure a lot of people!" We're all just trying to do what's best for the world. It's just not working out so great. Maybe the U.S. education system failed us. ❤️ (Click here to view Annie's YouTube channel. She's pretty popular, and for good reason.)

Are waiters/waitresses/restaurant employees allowed to say that to able-bodied people? Some people do need the extra motivation. And are you implying you don't care about turtles as much as you do people? We've been putting people first for years, look where that got us.

Are waiters/waitresses/restaurant employees allowed to say that to able-bodied people? Some people do need the extra motivation. And are you implying you don't care about turtles as much as you do people? We've been putting people first for years, look where that got us.

That's a fun answer. *sarcastic* And, I want to be clear, when we (original posters and I) say "disabled people," we don't mean people like me. My disabled situation is not everyone else's disabled situation. I have "mobility issues" - not even that - in my legs (hips and feet included in that). I can't walk that well. My arms, brain, etc. are fine. When we say "disabled people need straws," we mean, people like JJ from  Speechless , one of my favorite shows in the world. I don't "get" the experience of people like him, who have it different than I do - I mean, socially, I  sort of  get it:      https://www.zmkf.me/the-blog/2018/7/15/unique-me-on-the-verge-of-noise      This is something I wrote for my personal blog, about my experience as a wheelchair user, if you want to read.

That's a fun answer. *sarcastic* And, I want to be clear, when we (original posters and I) say "disabled people," we don't mean people like me. My disabled situation is not everyone else's disabled situation. I have "mobility issues" - not even that - in my legs (hips and feet included in that). I can't walk that well. My arms, brain, etc. are fine. When we say "disabled people need straws," we mean, people like JJ from Speechless, one of my favorite shows in the world. I don't "get" the experience of people like him, who have it different than I do - I mean, socially, I sort of get it: https://www.zmkf.me/the-blog/2018/7/15/unique-me-on-the-verge-of-noise This is something I wrote for my personal blog, about my experience as a wheelchair user, if you want to read.

"You just make our lives harder without offering feasible alternatives." Um, didn't I  just  see a chart filled with alternatives?? Apparently, none of them work for you!! It's getting kind of annoying. You've got to admit it, it's probably very annoying for you, too. But it's not as though we're not trying.

"You just make our lives harder without offering feasible alternatives." Um, didn't I just see a chart filled with alternatives?? Apparently, none of them work for you!! It's getting kind of annoying. You've got to admit it, it's probably very annoying for you, too. But it's not as though we're not trying.

Did you like my peanut gallery-esque commentary? 

As you can tell, I'm very passionate about the environment and wildlife within, even to the point of dissing people. But getting frustrated - or even furious - with people just trying to live won't help. Because that's just meaningless talk. And I suppose that "Do we need straws today, or would we rather save the turtles?" is the wrong question to ask.

The question we all should be asking, is,

"What can we do?"

Getting mad won't help. Talking about an issue and doing nothing won't help. Not holding yourself accountable won't help. On the other hand, becoming overcome with guilt won't help either. Solutions help. That's why they're called, "solutions." Here are some solutions for the plastic problem.

1. Use less plastic in other ways, if you absolutely need plastic straws. According to Vox's https://www.vox.com/2018/6/25/17488336/starbucks-plastic-straw-ban-ocean-pollution, "There are 150 million metric tons of plastics in the ocean. And if we continue this trend, scientists predict there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. One of the landmark studies of ocean plastic was published in Science in 2015. The researchers found that we generated 275 million metric tons of plastic waste in one year, of which 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons get into the oceans." We are Operation: OceanFixer, we care about the ocean. We consider this a problem. If you want to use less plastic but need your straws plastic-y, say no to excess packaging, or even bring your own plates/containers if you feel up to the task. Anything you can do to cut back on plastic, please do. We should sacrifice some things, just not "I could get injured or die" things. Do some research, and find out how you can take care of yourself and the world at the same time.

2. Hey, manufacturers! Make better straws! So far, looking back up at the helpful chart up there, the silicone straw is most successful but still harmful. The silicone's problems are "not positionable," and “costly." Part of the problem with this whole thing is, yes, everyone needs to be held accountable, but manufacturers always have more to do with the product design than the consumers. So, builders and inventors, let's take the silicone straw, and build off of that, or,

a) create a better plastic, somehow, so the material doesn't change, but chemical makeup and biodegrading process does, for the better.

b) find a way to destroy our current plastic. Oh wait, we did: https://www.sciencealert.com/plastic-eating-caterpillars-could-help-tackle-our-huge-waste-problemhttps://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-accidentally-engineered-mutant-enzyme-eats-through-plastic-pet-petase-pollution This, ladies and gents and nonbinary friends, is truly great. Get ready for inventions and landfill re-designs based off of this.

3. Go bigger. Move beyond plastic, if you have to. The plastic problem affects the sea and land, so tackle bigger issues, like overfishing or unlawful land animal hunting (I don't agree with hunting at all, personally, but there we have it). If there is an issue you care about, go for it. Just remember what (who?) you're fighting for.

. . .

With this, I leave you. 

I'm always here to help.

- ZMKF, disabled founder of Operation: OceanFixer. 💙       

What's Going On

WHAT WE ARE DOING TO OUR OCEANS

GOLDIE MARINA

The oceans of yesterday teemed with fish and swarmed with marine diversity. But what the oceans of tomorrow will hold is a mystery. Maybe a few worms? Will there even be grass? The question we have to ask ourselves is why? What's the reason? Do we not like our animals? Is there anyone out there who can say they would rather an empty ocean? If you yourself care in any way about nature than you should take a step back and look at what we are doing to our oceans.

OVERFISHING

Have you ever eaten a piece of sushi? Or had a fish fillet or a fish stick. Most people have because fish is a commonly eaten food. What people don't think about is that fish doesn't just fall from the sky. We have to fish for it obviously. But sticking in one bait at a time and waiting isn't enough for a fishing company. So they got new techniques that are more efficient. But the more efficient these new techniques become the more fish are becoming endangered. The more fish are going extinct. Fish is only good for less than a week, that means that it has to be prepared sold and consumed in under a week, and when it's not it's thrown to waste. So more fish is fished, and any animal that's caught and unwanted is thrown back into the ocean. Dead. and that's how we are killing our ocean. More and more marine animals are going extinct, you name it and it's endangered. It is estimated that the oceans are gonna be empty by 2048. That is less than 40 years away and in most of our lifetime. But 40 years is also enough time to stop it. But we would have to do it quick.

WHAT WE CAN DO

First off spread the news. Let people see the facts. Next we should let your senators or who ever is in office hear our side if enough people talk to them about it they will say something. There should be a limit to the amount of fish caught and a law against using certain nets, some species should be left to themselves for at least a few years to regenerate there should be safe places where any type of fish could go to be safe from fisher men. So spread the word and help make a difference. Because this is important and everyone should know.