Regent’s Presents: Shark Guardian

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This presentation from the Regent’s Presents programme saw the audience at the Regent’s School Pattaya walking away with a deeper understanding of sharks and the challenges they face for survival.

As our list of Regent’s Presents speakers continues to grow it is especially exciting and refreshing to be able to add Shark Guardian to that list. The organization, founded by dive enthusiasts Brendon Sing and Elizabeth Ward-Sing, is one that exists as a result of the general misunderstanding and frightening mistreatment of sharks by both the public at large and fishermen.

Brendon Sing and Elizabeth Ward-Sing from Shark Guardian.Brendon Sing and Elizabeth Ward-Sing from Shark Guardian.

Combining film, imagery and their narrative, Shark Guardian strived to open our minds to the disturbing lack of shark protection – with great success. While the number of people killed by sharks is significantly lower than the number of deaths by box jellyfish (or even coconuts!) we still seem to assume that it’s justifiable to add sharks to our list of greatest fears. Of course, with films such as Jaws and the manner in which sharks are portrayed in the media it is no surprise that we dread them despite the fact that 97% of the 500 species of shark that exist are harmless. Staggeringly, 70-100 million sharks are killed each year by humans.

One major cause for driving sharks to extinction highlighted in the talk was the increasing demand for shark fin soup – a delicacy in Chinese culture and cuisine – and we were shown shocking imagery of fisherman cutting off fins and throwing the bodies back into the water, leaving the sharks to die. By not eating this dish, which is usually cooked with chicken or pork to add taste to the otherwise flavourless shark fin, we’re at least not contributing further to their demise.

Luckily, with Shark Guardian’s determination and passion we walked away understanding that these ancient fish are vital for life on earth and any continuation of their unpardonable decline will only damage our environment in ways that we can’t even fathom.

For more information please visit www.sharkguardian.org