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The game of … Who’s Who?

There is a lot of talk about how dangerous sharks are, but they are the ones on the verge of extinction due to the direct action of human beings.

I would like to introduce you to them…

Have you ever noticed that big animals have very small eyes? Do they really have small eyes or in the immensity of the animal they seem small? I have always been impressed by the eyes of the shark. Those eyes that always look into the void. Dark as the depths of the sea, what is behind these gazes? Sharks are almost blind but they compensate with a system of pores on their head and snout, called ampullae of Lorenzini, which allows them to detect electrical signals emitted by other animals. This sense of electro-reception allows them to perceive the heartbeat of another fish at a distance of one metre, they can detect electrical currents lower than that produced by a small battery and recognise the state of their prey’s heart, and even locate them, even if they are buried in the sand.  In addition, the vast majority of sharks have a line of blisters along their sides filled with a gelatinous substance that allows them to detect any movement around them, even at a distance of tens of metres. It is impossible to get close to a shark without it knowing it.

They are also considered to have highly developed senses of smell and taste. As for their sense of smell, they are able to detect the smell of a drop of tuna blood in tons of water. They can even locate the scent several tens of kilometres away. Their immune system protects them from almost anything, being able to regenerate and heal themselves.

It seems incredible that they were once thought to be antiquated organisms due to a lack of evolution!  But, finally it was concluded that they did not need to modify anything because they were already perfect and that was the reason for their evolutionary immobility. And I’ll tell you a secret, these sensory organs are the envy of science!

Scattered throughout the world’s seas and oceans there are more than 540 species of sharks. But today we are going to dive into the water to talk about one species in particular, as this winter some specimens have been spotted between Ibiza and Formentera. We are talking about the blue shark, also known as the big blue shark (Prionace glauca). A very cosmopolitan shark that can be found in all the oceans and seas of the world, occupying both the surface of the open sea and coastal areas with cold waters of between 7 and 16 degrees Celsius.

With their particular skin colour, they are experts in camouflage: their back and sides are an intense metallic blue colour, while their belly is a well-defined white. They have a slender, elongated body with a long, conical snout. They are approximately 2.5 metres long and weigh up to 80 kilos. A singularity of this species is that, due to the length of its nose, its jaw has had to adapt to be able to bite without problems, as the upper part of the jaw is able to project forward, so that to bite it does not need to raise its head and when its teeth fall out, they are replaced by triangular-shaped teeth with serrated edges. On warm days, blue sharks often come close to the shore for the enjoyment of us divers.

While we’re on the subject of diving… Where was my first shark experience? Guess where in some beautiful sea of the world? No!!!! Let me tell you.

My parents were on holiday for the first time in Spain and I was living in Barcelona at the time. You can imagine that it was a dream holiday, so eager to see everything, every day we proposed different routes and excursions to get to know this beautiful city. Walking around the Barceloneta area we came across L’Aquarium de Barcelona. It seemed like a good plan and we went in to see it. I was pleasantly surprised when we were informed that divers with a valid diving licence had the opportunity to experience the experience of diving in the main tank and dive surrounded by fish. We signed up for the next day.

We arrived early in the morning. We were given a short talk about sharks, their behaviour and what your attitude should be towards them. Once we were fully equipped, we entered a small pool where I was able to take some photos and say goodbye to my companions who would follow my adventure from the other side of the glass. Next, I entered a series of tunnels that led me to “The Pool”. And there I was, in a tank with 4 million litres of water and more than 5000 organisms, such as moray eels, groupers, rays, conger eels, it was fascinating the amount of colours that danced around me. My dive was slow, measured, I wanted the time not to pass, I enjoyed it, and at that precise moment, I found myself face to face with a bull shark. Oh oh! So many sensations, fear, nerves, enthusiasm, excitement and admiration! An image to treasure and that my parents from the other side of the glass were able to capture with their camera.

It was a unique experience with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the beautiful experience of having shared diving with them and on the other hand, having them in captivity. It is a feeling of sadness that is relieved to know that they were rescued from the sea and survived serious injuries. If they were to return to their habitat in the wild, their physical limitations would lead them to certain death.

You know the answer, my first dive with sharks was in an aquarium!!!!

Since then, I choose to dive with them in the open sea. I have traveled to dozens of places: Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Cuba, among many other places. I was lucky enough to see different species such as blue sharks, hammerheads, lemon sharks, white tips, black tips, nurse sharks, bull sharks… It is a unique and incomparable sensation, floating in the depths of the sea and seeing their silhouettes, surrounding you, making you feel small, at their mercy, until you become part of them. Incredibly exciting!

But beyond particular experiences, there is a big concern: their existence and how to protect them. Sharks are essential to marine ecosystems because, among other things, they are responsible for the population balance of their food species and keep the oceans clean by removing diseased animals. However, they are vulnerable due to their small numbers of young, slow sexual maturation and reproductive cycles of up to 22 months, coupled with scarcity of prey, pollution, habitat destruction and the cruel practice of shark finning.

For example, the Atlantic dusky shark does not reproduce until it reaches maturity after 20 years of growth. Spiny dogfish gestate for almost two years and bull sharks have only two pups at a time. The reality is that shark populations cannot reproduce at the rate at which they are being exploited and there is irrefutable evidence that sharks are already disappearing at an unprecedented rate worldwide.

As for finning, it is a ruthless practice, which cuts off the shark’s fin and discards the rest of its body (although finning is not banned in the European Union, fishermen are obliged to keep and use the whole body of the animal). The fin is a highly prized food in Asia, mainly for making soup, a dish considered a delicacy.

The cruel business of “finning” and indiscriminate shark fishing by many countries (including Spain) must be stopped. This type of fishing is wiping out shark populations. If we do not stop this crime spree, very soon, perhaps in a few decades, we will lose the shark, a creature that has survived for more than 400 million years, resisting the climatic impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and that today, because of human greed, we are bringing to the brink of extinction.

How can we help protect them?
Although it is not an easy task, we can all do our bit by taking the following actions:

  • Don’t order shark fin soup. Besides being a totally tasteless soup, it is totally false that it gives more sexual vigour.
  • Do not eat shark meat.
  • Raise awareness and let our community know that endangered sharks are being fished in many countries.
  • Encourage divers to meet sharks and to dive with them. Increased revenue from the dive tourism sector can help governments understand that live sharks can be a major tourist attraction and should be protected.
  • Inform the general public that sharks are not human killers, but the opposite.
  • Collaborate with shark protection projects such as the “Stop Finning” – https://www.stop-finning-eu.org/es/

That is why it is important that: 

Observe the oceans, fix your gaze on the sea, feel it, breathe … they provide us with half the oxygen we breathe … where legends come to life and reality becomes a fable. Unknown worlds, unknown stories, only guarded by a raging and defenseless sea. 

 Carla Villari 

References: 

Wikipedia.
Karlossimon.com
Anchor
Buceo Ibérico.com 

El juego de … ¿Quién es quién? 

Se habla mucho de lo peligroso que son los tiburones, pero ellos son los que están en vías de extinción por la acción directa del ser humano. 

Les propongo conocerlos… 

 ¿Se han dado cuenta que los grandes animales tienen los ojos muy pequeños? ¿Los tienen realmente pequeños o en la inmensidad del animal parecen pequeños? Siempre me impresionó la mirada del tiburón. Esos ojos que miran siempre al vacío. Oscuros como las profundidades del mar. ¿Qué hay detrás de estas miradas? Los Tiburones son casi ciegos pero lo compensan con un sistema de poros en su cabeza y hocico, llamadas ampollas de Lorenzini, que les permite detectar las señales eléctricas emitidas por otros animales. Este sentido de electro-recepción les permite percibir el latido de otro pez a un metro de distancia, pueden detectar corrientes eléctricas inferiores a la que produce una pila pequeña y reconocer el estado del corazón de sus presas, e incluso localizarlas, aunque estén enterradas en la arena.  Además, la gran mayoría de ellos tienen a lo largo de sus costados una línea de ampollas rellenas de una sustancia gelatinosa que les permite detectar cualquier movimiento que se produzca a su alrededor, incluso a unas decenas de metros. Es imposible acercarse a un tiburón sin que lo sepa.

Se considera también que tienen muy desarrollados los sentidos del olfato y del gusto. Y en cuanto a su olfato, son capaces de detectar el olor de una gota de sangre de atún en toneladas de agua. Incluso pueden localizar el rastro a varias decenas de kilómetros. Su sistema inmunológico los protege de casi cualquier cosa, siendo capaces de regenerarse y curarse. 

¡Parece increíble que se llegara a creer que eran organismos anticuados por falta de evolución!  Pero, finalmente se concluyó que no necesitaban modificar nada porque ya eran perfectos y ese era el motivo de su inmovilidad evolutiva. Y les digo un secreto, ¡¡¡estos órganos sensoriales son la envidia de la ciencia!!! 

Repartidos por los mares y océanos del mundo existen más de 540 especies de tiburones (también llamados escualos). Pero hoy nos vamos a tirar al agua para hablar de una especie en particular, ya que en este invierno se han visto algunos ejemplares entre Ibiza y Formentera. Estamos hablando del tiburón azul, también conocido con el nombre de tintorera (Prionace glauca). Un tiburón muy cosmopolita que podemos encontrar en todos los océanos y mares del mundo, ocupando tanto la superficie de mar abierto, como las zonas costeras de aguas frías de entre 7 y 16 grados de temperatura.  

Con su particular color de piel son expertos en el camuflaje: su lomo y zonas laterales son de un color azul metalizado e intenso, mientras que su vientre es de un blanco bien definido. Poseen un cuerpo estilizado y alargado con un hocico largo y cónico. Cuentan con una longitud de 2,5 metros aproximadamente y llegan a pesar unos 80 kilos. Una singularidad de esta especie es que, debido a la longitud de su nariz, su mandíbula ha tenido que adaptarse para poder morder sin problemas, ya que la parte superior de la mandíbula es capaz de proyectarse hacia adelante, de manera que para morder no necesita alzar la cabeza y, cuando sus dientes se caen, son reemplazados por otros de forma triangular con bordes aserrados. En los días templados, los tiburones azules suelen acercarse a la costa para el disfrute de nosotros, los buceadores. 

Ya que hablamos de tirarnos al agua… ¿Dónde fue mi primera experiencia con tiburones? ¡Adivinen! ¿En algún bello mar del mundo? ¡¡No!! Les cuento. 

Mis papás estaban de vacaciones por primera vez en España y yo vivía en ese momento en Barcelona. Se imaginarán que eran unas vacaciones soñadas, así que ávidos de conocer toodooo, cada día nos proponíamos rutas y excursiones diferentes para conocer esa hermosa ciudad. Caminando por los alrededores de la Barceloneta nos encontramos con L’Aquarium de Barcelona. Nos pareció un buen plan y entramos a conocerlo. Me sorprendí gratamente cuando nos informaron que los submarinistas con titulación en vigor tenían la oportunidad de vivir la experiencia de sumergirse en el tanque principal y bucear rodeados de peces. Nos apuntamos para el día siguiente. 

Llegamos temprano por la mañana. Nos dieron una breve charla acerca de los tiburones, su comportamiento y como debe ser tu actitud frente a ellos. Una vez puesto el equipo completo, entramos en una piscina pequeña donde pude hacerme algunas fotos y despedirme de mis acompañantes que seguirían mi aventura des del otro lado del cristal. A continuación, entré una serie de túneles que me llevaron a “La Piscina”. Y ahí estaba, en un tanque de 4 millones de litros de agua y más de 5000 organismos, como morenas, meros, rayas, congrios, era fascinante la cantidad de colores que danzaban a mí alrededor. Mi buceo era lento, medido, quería que el tiempo no pasara, lo disfrutaba, y en ese preciso instante me encontré cara a cara con un tiburón toro. ¡Oh oh! ¡Cuántas sensaciones, miedo, nervios, entusiasmo, excitación y admiración! Una imagen para atesorar y que mis papás desde el otro lado del cristal pudieron capturar con su cámara. 

Fue una experiencia única con sentimientos encontrados. Por un lado, la hermosa experiencia de haber compartido el buceo con ellos y por otro el tenerlos en cautiverio. Es una sensación de tristeza que se alivia al saber que fueron rescatados del mar y que sobrevivieron a graves heridas. Si volvieran a su hábitat en libertad, sus limitaciones físicas los llevarían a una muerte segura.  

¡¡¡Ya conocen la respuesta, mi primer buceo con Tiburones fue en un Acuario!!! 

Desde ese momento, elijo bucear con ellos en mar abierto. He viajado a decena de lugares: Tailandia, Indonesia, Islas Maldivas, Cuba, entre otros tantos lugares. Tuve la suerte de ver diferentes especies como el tiburón azul, martillo, limón, punta blanca, punta negra, nodrizas, toros… Es una sensación única e inigualable, estar flotando en las profundidades del mar y ver sus siluetas, rodearte, te hacen sentir pequeña, a su merced, hasta formar parte de ellos. ¡Increíblemente emocionante! 

Pero más allá de experiencias particulares, existe una gran preocupación: su existencia y cómo protegerlos. Los tiburones son esenciales para los ecosistemas marinos porque, entre otras cosas, son los encargados del equilibrio poblacional de las especies que son su alimento y mantienen los océanos limpios mediante la eliminación de los animales enfermos. Sin embargo, son animales vulnerables debido a su reducido número de crías, su lenta maduración sexual y sus ciclos reproductivos que pueden alcanzar hasta los 22 meses, unido a la escasez de sus presas, la contaminación, la destrucción de sus hábitats y la cruel práctica del “finning”(corte de aletas de tiburón). 

Por ejemplo, el tiburón arenero del Atlántico no se reproduce hasta que alcanza su madurez tras 20 años de crecimiento. La gestación de la mielga dura casi dos años y el tiburón toro tiene sólo dos crías a la vez. La realidad es que las poblaciones de tiburones no pueden reproducirse al ritmo al que son explotadas y existen pruebas irrefutables que demuestran que los tiburones están ya desapareciendo a una velocidad sin precedentes en todo el mundo. 

En cuanto al “finning”, se trata de una despiadada práctica, que cercena la aleta del tiburón y deshecha el resto de su cuerpo (aunque en la Unión Europea, la práctica del “finning” no está prohibida se obliga a los pesqueros a conservar y aprovechar todo el cuerpo del animal). La aleta es un alimento muy apreciado en Asia, principalmente para hacer sopa, un plato considerado exquisito. 

Hay que detener el cruel negocio del “finning” y la pesca indiscriminada de tiburones por parte de muchos países (incluido el español). Este tipo de pesca está acabando con las poblaciones de tiburones. Si no detenemos este reguero de crímenes, muy pronto, quizás en pocas décadas, perdamos al tiburón, una criatura que ha sobrevivido durante más de 400 millones de años, resistiendo el impacto climático que causó la extinción de los dinosaurios y que hoy, por culpa de la avaricia humana, estamos llevando al borde de su extinción. 

¿Cómo podemos ayudar a protegerlos? 

Aunque no es tarea fácil, todos podemos aportar nuestro “granito de arena” realizando las siguientes acciones: 

  • No pedir sopa de aleta de tiburón. Además de ser una sopa totalmente insípida, es totalmente falso que dé más vigor sexual. 
  • No consumir carne de tiburón. 
  • Concienciar y dar a conocer a nuestra comunidad que en muchos países se están pescando tiburones en peligro de extinción. 
  • Animar a los buceadores a que conozcan a los tiburones y a que buceen con ellos. Un aumento de los ingresos en el sector turístico del buceo puede ayudar a entender a los gobiernos que los tiburones vivos pueden ser un gran atractivo turístico y deben ser protegidos.
  • Informar al público en general que el tiburón no es un asesino de humanos, sino todo lo contrario. 
  • Colaborar con los proyectos de protección de esta especie como el “Stop Finning” – https://www.stop-finning-eu.org/es/ 

Por eso es importante que: 

Observes los océanos, que fijes tu mirada en el mar, siéntelo, respira… ellos nos proporcionan la mitad del oxígeno que respiramos… donde las leyendas cobran vida y la realidad se convierte en fábula. Desconocidos mundos, desconocidas historias, solo custodiadas por un furioso e indefenso mar. 

Carla Villari. 

Referencias: 

  • Wikipedia. 
  • Karlossimon.com 
  • Fondear 
  • Buceo Ibérico.com 

The game of … Who’s Who?

There is a lot of talk about how dangerous sharks are, but they are the ones on the verge of extinction due to the direct action of human beings.

I would like to introduce you to them…

Have you ever noticed that big animals have very small eyes? Do they really have small eyes or in the immensity of the animal they seem small? I have always been impressed by the eyes of the shark. Those eyes that always look into the void. Dark as the depths of the sea, what is behind these gazes? Sharks are almost blind but they compensate with a system of pores on their head and snout, called ampullae of Lorenzini, which allows them to detect electrical signals emitted by other animals. This sense of electro-reception allows them to perceive the heartbeat of another fish at a distance of one metre, they can detect electrical currents lower than that produced by a small battery and recognise the state of their prey’s heart, and even locate them, even if they are buried in the sand.  In addition, the vast majority of sharks have a line of blisters along their sides filled with a gelatinous substance that allows them to detect any movement around them, even at a distance of tens of metres. It is impossible to get close to a shark without it knowing it.

They are also considered to have highly developed senses of smell and taste. As for their sense of smell, they are able to detect the smell of a drop of tuna blood in tons of water. They can even locate the scent several tens of kilometres away. Their immune system protects them from almost anything, being able to regenerate and heal themselves.

It seems incredible that they were once thought to be antiquated organisms due to a lack of evolution!  But, finally it was concluded that they did not need to modify anything because they were already perfect and that was the reason for their evolutionary immobility. And I’ll tell you a secret, these sensory organs are the envy of science!

Scattered throughout the world’s seas and oceans there are more than 540 species of sharks. But today we are going to dive into the water to talk about one species in particular, as this winter some specimens have been spotted between Ibiza and Formentera. We are talking about the blue shark, also known as the big blue shark (Prionace glauca). A very cosmopolitan shark that can be found in all the oceans and seas of the world, occupying both the surface of the open sea and coastal areas with cold waters of between 7 and 16 degrees Celsius.

With their particular skin colour, they are experts in camouflage: their back and sides are an intense metallic blue colour, while their belly is a well-defined white. They have a slender, elongated body with a long, conical snout. They are approximately 2.5 metres long and weigh up to 80 kilos. A singularity of this species is that, due to the length of its nose, its jaw has had to adapt to be able to bite without problems, as the upper part of the jaw is able to project forward, so that to bite it does not need to raise its head and when its teeth fall out, they are replaced by triangular-shaped teeth with serrated edges. On warm days, blue sharks often come close to the shore for the enjoyment of us divers.

While we’re on the subject of diving… Where was my first shark experience? Guess where in some beautiful sea of the world? No!!!! Let me tell you.

My parents were on holiday for the first time in Spain and I was living in Barcelona at the time. You can imagine that it was a dream holiday, so eager to see everything, every day we proposed different routes and excursions to get to know this beautiful city. Walking around the Barceloneta area we came across L’Aquarium de Barcelona. It seemed like a good plan and we went in to see it. I was pleasantly surprised when we were informed that divers with a valid diving licence had the opportunity to experience the experience of diving in the main tank and dive surrounded by fish. We signed up for the next day.

We arrived early in the morning. We were given a short talk about sharks, their behaviour and what your attitude should be towards them. Once we were fully equipped, we entered a small pool where I was able to take some photos and say goodbye to my companions who would follow my adventure from the other side of the glass. Next, I entered a series of tunnels that led me to “The Pool”. And there I was, in a tank with 4 million litres of water and more than 5000 organisms, such as moray eels, groupers, rays, conger eels, it was fascinating the amount of colours that danced around me. My dive was slow, measured, I wanted the time not to pass, I enjoyed it, and at that precise moment, I found myself face to face with a bull shark. Oh oh! So many sensations, fear, nerves, enthusiasm, excitement and admiration! An image to treasure and that my parents from the other side of the glass were able to capture with their camera.

It was a unique experience with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the beautiful experience of having shared diving with them and on the other hand, having them in captivity. It is a feeling of sadness that is relieved to know that they were rescued from the sea and survived serious injuries. If they were to return to their habitat in the wild, their physical limitations would lead them to certain death.

You know the answer, my first dive with sharks was in an aquarium!!!!

Since then, I choose to dive with them in the open sea. I have traveled to dozens of places: Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Cuba, among many other places. I was lucky enough to see different species such as blue sharks, hammerheads, lemon sharks, white tips, black tips, nurse sharks, bull sharks… It is a unique and incomparable sensation, floating in the depths of the sea and seeing their silhouettes, surrounding you, making you feel small, at their mercy, until you become part of them. Incredibly exciting!

But beyond particular experiences, there is a big concern: their existence and how to protect them. Sharks are essential to marine ecosystems because, among other things, they are responsible for the population balance of their food species and keep the oceans clean by removing diseased animals. However, they are vulnerable due to their small numbers of young, slow sexual maturation and reproductive cycles of up to 22 months, coupled with scarcity of prey, pollution, habitat destruction and the cruel practice of shark finning.

For example, the Atlantic dusky shark does not reproduce until it reaches maturity after 20 years of growth. Spiny dogfish gestate for almost two years and bull sharks have only two pups at a time. The reality is that shark populations cannot reproduce at the rate at which they are being exploited and there is irrefutable evidence that sharks are already disappearing at an unprecedented rate worldwide.

As for finning, it is a ruthless practice, which cuts off the shark’s fin and discards the rest of its body (although finning is not banned in the European Union, fishermen are obliged to keep and use the whole body of the animal). The fin is a highly prized food in Asia, mainly for making soup, a dish considered a delicacy.

The cruel business of “finning” and indiscriminate shark fishing by many countries (including Spain) must be stopped. This type of fishing is wiping out shark populations. If we do not stop this crime spree, very soon, perhaps in a few decades, we will lose the shark, a creature that has survived for more than 400 million years, resisting the climatic impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and that today, because of human greed, we are bringing to the brink of extinction.

How can we help protect them?
Although it is not an easy task, we can all do our bit by taking the following actions:

  • Don’t order shark fin soup. Besides being a totally tasteless soup, it is totally false that it gives more sexual vigour.
  • Do not eat shark meat.
  • Raise awareness and let our community know that endangered sharks are being fished in many countries.
  • Encourage divers to meet sharks and to dive with them. Increased revenue from the dive tourism sector can help governments understand that live sharks can be a major tourist attraction and should be protected.
  • Inform the general public that sharks are not human killers, but the opposite.
  • Collaborate with shark protection projects such as the “Stop Finning” – https://www.stop-finning-eu.org/es/

That is why it is important that: 

Observe the oceans, fix your gaze on the sea, feel it, breathe … they provide us with half the oxygen we breathe … where legends come to life and reality becomes a fable. Unknown worlds, unknown stories, only guarded by a raging and defenseless sea. 

 Carla Villari 

References: 

Wikipedia.
Karlossimon.com
Anchor
Buceo Ibérico.com 

The game of … Who’s Who?

There is a lot of talk about how dangerous sharks are, but they are the ones on the verge of extinction due to the direct action of human beings.

I would like to introduce you to them…

Have you ever noticed that big animals have very small eyes? Do they really have small eyes or in the immensity of the animal they seem small? I have always been impressed by the eyes of the shark. Those eyes that always look into the void. Dark as the depths of the sea, what is behind these gazes? Sharks are almost blind but they compensate with a system of pores on their head and snout, called ampullae of Lorenzini, which allows them to detect electrical signals emitted by other animals. This sense of electro-reception allows them to perceive the heartbeat of another fish at a distance of one metre, they can detect electrical currents lower than that produced by a small battery and recognise the state of their prey’s heart, and even locate them, even if they are buried in the sand.  In addition, the vast majority of sharks have a line of blisters along their sides filled with a gelatinous substance that allows them to detect any movement around them, even at a distance of tens of metres. It is impossible to get close to a shark without it knowing it.

They are also considered to have highly developed senses of smell and taste. As for their sense of smell, they are able to detect the smell of a drop of tuna blood in tons of water. They can even locate the scent several tens of kilometres away. Their immune system protects them from almost anything, being able to regenerate and heal themselves.

It seems incredible that they were once thought to be antiquated organisms due to a lack of evolution!  But, finally it was concluded that they did not need to modify anything because they were already perfect and that was the reason for their evolutionary immobility. And I’ll tell you a secret, these sensory organs are the envy of science!

Scattered throughout the world’s seas and oceans there are more than 540 species of sharks. But today we are going to dive into the water to talk about one species in particular, as this winter some specimens have been spotted between Ibiza and Formentera. We are talking about the blue shark, also known as the big blue shark (Prionace glauca). A very cosmopolitan shark that can be found in all the oceans and seas of the world, occupying both the surface of the open sea and coastal areas with cold waters of between 7 and 16 degrees Celsius.

With their particular skin colour, they are experts in camouflage: their back and sides are an intense metallic blue colour, while their belly is a well-defined white. They have a slender, elongated body with a long, conical snout. They are approximately 2.5 metres long and weigh up to 80 kilos. A singularity of this species is that, due to the length of its nose, its jaw has had to adapt to be able to bite without problems, as the upper part of the jaw is able to project forward, so that to bite it does not need to raise its head and when its teeth fall out, they are replaced by triangular-shaped teeth with serrated edges. On warm days, blue sharks often come close to the shore for the enjoyment of us divers.

While we’re on the subject of diving… Where was my first shark experience? Guess where in some beautiful sea of the world? No!!!! Let me tell you.

My parents were on holiday for the first time in Spain and I was living in Barcelona at the time. You can imagine that it was a dream holiday, so eager to see everything, every day we proposed different routes and excursions to get to know this beautiful city. Walking around the Barceloneta area we came across L’Aquarium de Barcelona. It seemed like a good plan and we went in to see it. I was pleasantly surprised when we were informed that divers with a valid diving licence had the opportunity to experience the experience of diving in the main tank and dive surrounded by fish. We signed up for the next day.

We arrived early in the morning. We were given a short talk about sharks, their behaviour and what your attitude should be towards them. Once we were fully equipped, we entered a small pool where I was able to take some photos and say goodbye to my companions who would follow my adventure from the other side of the glass. Next, I entered a series of tunnels that led me to “The Pool”. And there I was, in a tank with 4 million litres of water and more than 5000 organisms, such as moray eels, groupers, rays, conger eels, it was fascinating the amount of colours that danced around me. My dive was slow, measured, I wanted the time not to pass, I enjoyed it, and at that precise moment, I found myself face to face with a bull shark. Oh oh! So many sensations, fear, nerves, enthusiasm, excitement and admiration! An image to treasure and that my parents from the other side of the glass were able to capture with their camera.

It was a unique experience with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the beautiful experience of having shared diving with them and on the other hand, having them in captivity. It is a feeling of sadness that is relieved to know that they were rescued from the sea and survived serious injuries. If they were to return to their habitat in the wild, their physical limitations would lead them to certain death.

You know the answer, my first dive with sharks was in an aquarium!!!!

Since then, I choose to dive with them in the open sea. I have traveled to dozens of places: Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Cuba, among many other places. I was lucky enough to see different species such as blue sharks, hammerheads, lemon sharks, white tips, black tips, nurse sharks, bull sharks… It is a unique and incomparable sensation, floating in the depths of the sea and seeing their silhouettes, surrounding you, making you feel small, at their mercy, until you become part of them. Incredibly exciting!

But beyond particular experiences, there is a big concern: their existence and how to protect them. Sharks are essential to marine ecosystems because, among other things, they are responsible for the population balance of their food species and keep the oceans clean by removing diseased animals. However, they are vulnerable due to their small numbers of young, slow sexual maturation and reproductive cycles of up to 22 months, coupled with scarcity of prey, pollution, habitat destruction and the cruel practice of shark finning.

For example, the Atlantic dusky shark does not reproduce until it reaches maturity after 20 years of growth. Spiny dogfish gestate for almost two years and bull sharks have only two pups at a time. The reality is that shark populations cannot reproduce at the rate at which they are being exploited and there is irrefutable evidence that sharks are already disappearing at an unprecedented rate worldwide.

As for finning, it is a ruthless practice, which cuts off the shark’s fin and discards the rest of its body (although finning is not banned in the European Union, fishermen are obliged to keep and use the whole body of the animal). The fin is a highly prized food in Asia, mainly for making soup, a dish considered a delicacy.

The cruel business of “finning” and indiscriminate shark fishing by many countries (including Spain) must be stopped. This type of fishing is wiping out shark populations. If we do not stop this crime spree, very soon, perhaps in a few decades, we will lose the shark, a creature that has survived for more than 400 million years, resisting the climatic impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and that today, because of human greed, we are bringing to the brink of extinction.

How can we help protect them?
Although it is not an easy task, we can all do our bit by taking the following actions:

  • Don’t order shark fin soup. Besides being a totally tasteless soup, it is totally false that it gives more sexual vigour.
  • Do not eat shark meat.
  • Raise awareness and let our community know that endangered sharks are being fished in many countries.
  • Encourage divers to meet sharks and to dive with them. Increased revenue from the dive tourism sector can help governments understand that live sharks can be a major tourist attraction and should be protected.
  • Inform the general public that sharks are not human killers, but the opposite.
  • Collaborate with shark protection projects such as the “Stop Finning” – https://www.stop-finning-eu.org/es/

That is why it is important that: 

Observe the oceans, fix your gaze on the sea, feel it, breathe … they provide us with half the oxygen we breathe … where legends come to life and reality becomes a fable. Unknown worlds, unknown stories, only guarded by a raging and defenseless sea. 

 Carla Villari 

References: 

Wikipedia.
Karlossimon.com
Anchor
Buceo Ibérico.com 

The game of … Who’s Who?

There is a lot of talk about how dangerous sharks are, but they are the ones on the verge of extinction due to the direct action of human beings.

I would like to introduce you to them…

Have you ever noticed that big animals have very small eyes? Do they really have small eyes or in the immensity of the animal they seem small? I have always been impressed by the eyes of the shark. Those eyes that always look into the void. Dark as the depths of the sea, what is behind these gazes? Sharks are almost blind but they compensate with a system of pores on their head and snout, called ampullae of Lorenzini, which allows them to detect electrical signals emitted by other animals. This sense of electro-reception allows them to perceive the heartbeat of another fish at a distance of one metre, they can detect electrical currents lower than that produced by a small battery and recognise the state of their prey’s heart, and even locate them, even if they are buried in the sand.  In addition, the vast majority of sharks have a line of blisters along their sides filled with a gelatinous substance that allows them to detect any movement around them, even at a distance of tens of metres. It is impossible to get close to a shark without it knowing it.

They are also considered to have highly developed senses of smell and taste. As for their sense of smell, they are able to detect the smell of a drop of tuna blood in tons of water. They can even locate the scent several tens of kilometres away. Their immune system protects them from almost anything, being able to regenerate and heal themselves.

It seems incredible that they were once thought to be antiquated organisms due to a lack of evolution!  But, finally it was concluded that they did not need to modify anything because they were already perfect and that was the reason for their evolutionary immobility. And I’ll tell you a secret, these sensory organs are the envy of science!

Scattered throughout the world’s seas and oceans there are more than 540 species of sharks. But today we are going to dive into the water to talk about one species in particular, as this winter some specimens have been spotted between Ibiza and Formentera. We are talking about the blue shark, also known as the big blue shark (Prionace glauca). A very cosmopolitan shark that can be found in all the oceans and seas of the world, occupying both the surface of the open sea and coastal areas with cold waters of between 7 and 16 degrees Celsius.

With their particular skin colour, they are experts in camouflage: their back and sides are an intense metallic blue colour, while their belly is a well-defined white. They have a slender, elongated body with a long, conical snout. They are approximately 2.5 metres long and weigh up to 80 kilos. A singularity of this species is that, due to the length of its nose, its jaw has had to adapt to be able to bite without problems, as the upper part of the jaw is able to project forward, so that to bite it does not need to raise its head and when its teeth fall out, they are replaced by triangular-shaped teeth with serrated edges. On warm days, blue sharks often come close to the shore for the enjoyment of us divers.

While we’re on the subject of diving… Where was my first shark experience? Guess where in some beautiful sea of the world? No!!!! Let me tell you.

My parents were on holiday for the first time in Spain and I was living in Barcelona at the time. You can imagine that it was a dream holiday, so eager to see everything, every day we proposed different routes and excursions to get to know this beautiful city. Walking around the Barceloneta area we came across L’Aquarium de Barcelona. It seemed like a good plan and we went in to see it. I was pleasantly surprised when we were informed that divers with a valid diving licence had the opportunity to experience the experience of diving in the main tank and dive surrounded by fish. We signed up for the next day.

We arrived early in the morning. We were given a short talk about sharks, their behaviour and what your attitude should be towards them. Once we were fully equipped, we entered a small pool where I was able to take some photos and say goodbye to my companions who would follow my adventure from the other side of the glass. Next, I entered a series of tunnels that led me to “The Pool”. And there I was, in a tank with 4 million litres of water and more than 5000 organisms, such as moray eels, groupers, rays, conger eels, it was fascinating the amount of colours that danced around me. My dive was slow, measured, I wanted the time not to pass, I enjoyed it, and at that precise moment, I found myself face to face with a bull shark. Oh oh! So many sensations, fear, nerves, enthusiasm, excitement and admiration! An image to treasure and that my parents from the other side of the glass were able to capture with their camera.

It was a unique experience with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the beautiful experience of having shared diving with them and on the other hand, having them in captivity. It is a feeling of sadness that is relieved to know that they were rescued from the sea and survived serious injuries. If they were to return to their habitat in the wild, their physical limitations would lead them to certain death.

You know the answer, my first dive with sharks was in an aquarium!!!!

Since then, I choose to dive with them in the open sea. I have traveled to dozens of places: Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Cuba, among many other places. I was lucky enough to see different species such as blue sharks, hammerheads, lemon sharks, white tips, black tips, nurse sharks, bull sharks… It is a unique and incomparable sensation, floating in the depths of the sea and seeing their silhouettes, surrounding you, making you feel small, at their mercy, until you become part of them. Incredibly exciting!

But beyond particular experiences, there is a big concern: their existence and how to protect them. Sharks are essential to marine ecosystems because, among other things, they are responsible for the population balance of their food species and keep the oceans clean by removing diseased animals. However, they are vulnerable due to their small numbers of young, slow sexual maturation and reproductive cycles of up to 22 months, coupled with scarcity of prey, pollution, habitat destruction and the cruel practice of shark finning.

For example, the Atlantic dusky shark does not reproduce until it reaches maturity after 20 years of growth. Spiny dogfish gestate for almost two years and bull sharks have only two pups at a time. The reality is that shark populations cannot reproduce at the rate at which they are being exploited and there is irrefutable evidence that sharks are already disappearing at an unprecedented rate worldwide.

As for finning, it is a ruthless practice, which cuts off the shark’s fin and discards the rest of its body (although finning is not banned in the European Union, fishermen are obliged to keep and use the whole body of the animal). The fin is a highly prized food in Asia, mainly for making soup, a dish considered a delicacy.

The cruel business of “finning” and indiscriminate shark fishing by many countries (including Spain) must be stopped. This type of fishing is wiping out shark populations. If we do not stop this crime spree, very soon, perhaps in a few decades, we will lose the shark, a creature that has survived for more than 400 million years, resisting the climatic impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and that today, because of human greed, we are bringing to the brink of extinction.

How can we help protect them?
Although it is not an easy task, we can all do our bit by taking the following actions:

  • Don’t order shark fin soup. Besides being a totally tasteless soup, it is totally false that it gives more sexual vigour.
  • Do not eat shark meat.
  • Raise awareness and let our community know that endangered sharks are being fished in many countries.
  • Encourage divers to meet sharks and to dive with them. Increased revenue from the dive tourism sector can help governments understand that live sharks can be a major tourist attraction and should be protected.
  • Inform the general public that sharks are not human killers, but the opposite.
  • Collaborate with shark protection projects such as the “Stop Finning” – https://www.stop-finning-eu.org/es/

That is why it is important that: 

Observe the oceans, fix your gaze on the sea, feel it, breathe … they provide us with half the oxygen we breathe … where legends come to life and reality becomes a fable. Unknown worlds, unknown stories, only guarded by a raging and defenseless sea. 

 Carla Villari 

References: 

Wikipedia.
Karlossimon.com
Anchor
Buceo Ibérico.com 

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