The chance of being killed by a shark is one in 300 million. The chance of being killed by airplane parts falling from the sky is one in 10 million. On average, less than ten people die annually due to shark related incidences and ironically, a person is more likely to die from falling coconuts, malfunctioning toaster ovens, or bee stings than shark attacks.
In great contrast, experts estimate that humans kill an average of 70-100 million sharks each year mainly for their fins to be used in shark fin soup. In the barbaric practice known as shark finning, a shark is caught then pulled on board a boat where fishermen cut the fins from the shark. Often still alive, the shark is thrown overboard and unable to swim and in agonizing pain, the shark sinks to the bottom of the ocean either to drown or be eaten alive.
Older than dinosaurs, for over 400 million years sharks have shaped and balanced the oceans. Just like on land, under the sea every living thing has a function. Sharks play a vital role in ways average fish do not since sharks are at the top of the food chain as an apex predator in virtually every part of the ocean. Sharks now represent the greatest percentage of threatened marine species on the ICUN Red List os Threatened Species; many shark species could possibly be extinct in the next 20 years So says PangeaSeed, a non profit organization based in Tokyo fighting against the problems of global shark finning.
On the night of Friday, September 23, PangeaSeed, in conjunction with the Spoke Art gallery in San Francisco, presented ‘Sink or Swim,’ a shark themed show of an eclectic mix of works by artists such as Dave Kinsey, Mike Stilkey, Shark Toof, Skinner, Paul Chatem, Kevin Earl Taylor, Dan May, Clint Wilson, Rhys Cooper and Tapecat. A line of over 100 people stretched down the block as people waited to get their hands on a coveted Josh Keyes’ print. ‘Sink or Swim’ ends its weekend run later this evening, Sunday September 25th, with a closing party, non San Franciscans will get their chance to purchase the remaining original works, and prints, in the weeks to come via PangeaSeed. – Marisa Ware