Infographic: Sharks Vs. Humans

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Sharks might have more sympathy on their side if their gave birth to cute, furry, photogenic offspring, like lions. But, alas for them, they don’t. There’s all those teeth, the feeding frenzies, Jaws, and, dang it, shark fin soup. Not much warm and cuddly there. But sharks are apex predators, critical to the health and diversity of the ocean ecosystems, and they are unequivocally under assault. In fact, it’s estimated that 100 million sharks are killed each year, perhaps as many as 270 million, most of them to give up their fins to serve as soup in Asian countries.

Marketer Joe Chernov was appalled at this, so he collaborated with infographic designer Robin Richards to put the plight of sharks in perspective. Keep in mind as you look at this graphic that the number of people killed by sharks is per YEAR, while the number of sharks killed by people is per HOUR.

shark attacks 660

Environmental coverage made possible in part by support from Patagonia. For information on Patagonia and its environmental efforts, visit www.patagonia.com.

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{ 12 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Michael

    In the U.S. alone:

    Cows vs. Humans: 108 people, 35.5 million cows
    Pigs vs. Humans: 40 people, 116.6 million pigs
    Chickens vs. Humans: Undocumented # of people, 9.1 BILLION chickens
    (2008 USDA numbers found here http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Practical/FactoryFarm/USDAnumbers.htm)

    I’m not sure what this means. I’m not even a vegetarian. But I believe this is a bigger ethical conversation than the practice of shark finning (albeit a disgusting one) that our western culture has difficulty relating to.

    • JB

      I agree with MW – although many farmed animals were once wild too and I agree that not enough is done to maintain their health and ensure free-range and sustainable farming… sharks are highly evolved predators, vital for the ecosystem of the ocean and for goodness sake – NO ONE needs shark soup. NO ONE. Or whale or dolphin meat for that matter.

  • MW

    Cows, Pigs, and Chickens are raised by some for food… and on purpose. Sharks are no farmed and further they keep populations of everything else in the ocean in check. While factory farming is an issue we should care about, stopping shark finning is pretty dam important.

  • KR

    Agreed. How many cows would there be if humans didn’t raise them to kill vs how many sharks would there be if humans weren’t killing them off. We’re not even using the sharks like we are the oter animals, we’re just slicing the fins off. It’s not right. The only good those other numbers serve is making us wonder, how hell are that many people being killed by pigs? So I should be more scared of pigs and cows than of sharks? Very eye opening.

  • Michael

    I would tend to agree with both of you for the most part, MW and KR. Finning is both despicable and unsustainable. Especially if these numbers are correct–they suggest about 100 million sharks are killed each year. The idea that a life is somehow less valuable because the creature has been raised to kill is a bit tricky, though.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative here, and like I said in my first post, I’m not even sure where I stand. The intricacies of environmental ethics fascinate me, pure and simple.

      • Michael

        Sorry I wasn’t more clear, Captain.

        My discussion point was that I find it interesting that as a society, we tend to value living things we have raised to be killed far less than creatures, like sharks, that are generally wild and not “raised” by humans at all. My statement had nothing to do with your response.

        I appreciate that sharks are not the man-eaters they have historically portrayed to be. Though I think Spielberg’s image of sharks is waning.

  • Joe Chernov

    Thanks for sharing this graphic Adventure-Journal. Robin and I created it, not because we see ourselves as conservationists, but because we are wiping out the ocean’s apex predator for its fin, leaving the animal to drown. We created it because it’s revolting and heartbreaking and infuriating. I’ve heard the comments about the out-of-whack ratio of cows:man, chicken:man in the past. Ok, fair point. If you are offended by the raising, slaughter and complete-animal consumption of livestock, create a graphic on that. If you send it to me I’ll share it. -Joe

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