That Girl’s Blog: A 12-Year Old Responds To A Proposal By A County Commissioner To Kill Sharks

Sharks.

They are here and have been here for some time. With the instant gratification of social media, we are hearing about every fin and tooth and bait swipe that happens in the waters off Cape Cod. It’s exciting and scary. We have some of the leading experts in the country studying the shark populations along our coast.

With seemingly greater and greater confirmed sightings of seal attacks, and recently a paddleboard bite, it’s predictable that some people will feel the need to “solve” our shark “problem”. I am sure by now you have seen the proposal by a County Commissioner. If not, here is a sample of his press release:

Ronald Beaty elaborated, “This proposal entails use of baited drum lines being deployed near popular beaches using hooks designed to catch great white sharks. Large sharks found hooked but still alive are shot and their bodies discarded at sea. This is a targeted, localized, shark hazard mitigation strategy.”

Normally I stay out of politics. At least publically.

However, a 12 year old from Harwich, was so upset by the County Commissioners proposal, that she took pen to paper and thoughtfully wrote a response, which I think should be shared. I saw this letter published on her mother’s Facebook page. Her mother (Sarah Swain), also thanked theAtlantic White Shark Conservancy and The Gills Club for educating and inspiring the next generation of ocean advocates. Here is the letter:

Dear Mr. Beaty,
I am a twelve year old ocean advocate and I felt the need to share some information with you when I heard about your shark mitigation proposal. By killing the Great White Sharks you are destroying the ocean ecosystem around the Cape. The sharks balance the ecosystem. When you kill them off you knock the ecosystem off of balance. Sharks are the predator of seals, not people, and when we kill the sharks the seals overpopulate. The seals would then eat all the fish. This would then cause the fish population to plummet. The fishing industry on the Cape would then die and we would lose a big portion of our economy. Everything that depended on the fish for food would die too because it would be extremely hard for them to find food. Also without the fish there would be many algae blooms. The whole local ocean ecosystem would be ruined, all because people are not educated enough about sharks and the ocean.

Here are a few statistics to get you thinking:
* 1996, buckets and pails injured almost 11,000 Americans. Sharks injured 13.
* The U.S. has an average of just 19 shark attacks every year and one shark attack fatality every year. In coastal U.S. states more than 37 people die of lightning strikes.
* You are more likely to be bitten by a New Yorker on the New York subway than by a shark.
* Falling coconuts have killed more people than sharks.
* For every human killed by a shark, humans kill approximately 2,000,000 sharks, destroying the ocean ecosystem.

In fact, thanks to the Great Whites, our ocean ecosystem is improving. Brian Skerry, the famous National Geographic ocean photographer, who travels the world recently said that he was amazed to see our ocean ecosystem improving, thanks to the presence of sharks. We are extremely lucky to have sharks living in our waters and killing them would be the worst thing to do.

Sincerely,
Lucy Swain (12)

About Cat Wilson

Cat Wilson is “That Girl” on Cape Country 104 – a Cape Cod native and longtime Cape radio personality. She is a passionate supporter of Military and Veteran causes on the Cape and also hosts local music spotlight program, “The Cheap Seats” on Ocean 104.7.

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