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Sharks are essential to humanity

When we think about endangered animals, species come to mind such as the Iberian lynx or tuna, much less so sharks. For several generations, you just need to think of sharks to make an instinctive link to Steven Spielberg’s film – and from there it’s only a small step to attacks on humans. But the reality is very different.

“Sharkwater”, a documentary by Rob Stewart, sees its mission as being to challenge the false stereotypes which people have about sharks. It shows that these animals are endangered because no one cares about them being hunted. Such indifference gives the shark’s fin soup industry carte blanche to do what it wants – and this includes cutting off their fins and letting the sharks die.

If there is a lesson that the human species has not yet understood, it is that everything has consequences. And sharks becoming extinct is no exception. This would imply that their prey (smaller sharks and rays) would multiply uncontrollably. And this in turn would mean that the prey of these species (molluscs) would be greatly reduced in number. As molluscs filter the sea water, this decline would have direct consequences for water quality and, by association, for our nutrition.

This is not another documentary about shark attacks or the beauty of sharks. Both informative and entertaining, this film – by a director and activist whose hobby is swimming with what he is passionate about, sharks – draws people’s attention to a problem that has long been ignored.

“Sharkwater draws people’s attention to an endangered species to which no one seems to attach any importance”

Sharkwater: The Truth Will Surface 2007
Documentary  89 min.
Director: Rob Stuart

About the author

Hugo Filipe Lopes:Has a degree in sociology and a post-graduate qualification in clinical nutrition from the Egas Moniz Faculty. Collaborates with a number of online publications, a trainer and nutritional therapist. Honourable mentions in the Casa da Imprensa and Lisboa à Letra competitions..

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