Sea Shepherd : Toronto should not permit the capture of wild endangered sharks for Ripley's Aquarium

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ground has been broken in Toronto on a 2.8 million liter fish tank known as Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. This aquarium will be an unnatural home to over 13,000 salt and fresh water fish including 10 Sharks.

The wild sharks that will be displayed are the rare sand tiger sharks, listed as endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. They are protected in the United States, Australia, and New Guinea. These species of sharks migrate by Murrells Inlet, South Carolina to their breeding grounds. The Sand Tiger Shark only produces two pups per litter and has been the victim of commercial fishing, spear fishing, and protective beach netting. The further removal of this animal by the Ripley's team will definitely put a dent into this protected species population growth.

The Ripley team will and have been catching them in the wild out of Murrells Inlet, S.C. The team states they received a special government clearance by saying the sharks would be for educational purposes.

“There is about as much educational benefit to be gained in studying [animals] in captivity as there would be studying mankind by only observing prisoners held in solitary.” ~Jacques Cousteau

The endangered shark's journey from wild and free to a cage goes something like this:

1) Fishing line similar to a longline is used. Longlines kill over 70 million sharks annually. Other animals that have been caught on these lines are stingrays, black tip sharks, hammerhead sharks, and the targeted sand tiger shark. This clearly shows the destructive and invasive nature of the initial hunt.

2) The sharks tail is roped and the animal’s jaw is hooked to the side of a boat and dragged unnaturally until being put into a sling and later a small area until they are removed and placed into a tank on the boat.

3) Taken to shore, the shark will be removed again to another tank and shipped to the Ripley's Aquarium of South Carolina.

4) Further stress to these sharks will occur during the long and arduous journey from South Carolina to New York and then on to Toronto.

From start to finish this animal will be in an unnatural, and confined space bringing much stress and strife before being imprisoned in a water cage at the end to be exploited for money, not education.

Toronto has a shark fin ban and they should follow through with the protection of sharks by not allowing these rare and endangered animals to be taken from the wild for display in Toronto.

By Bob Timmons, Sea Shepherd Toronto Chapter Coordinator

Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 August 2012 )