Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shark Tacos:Tragedy and Triumph

I am a huge proponent of “thinking globally and acting locally.” This mentality inspires change and has far reaching impacts. With Shark Week approaching ,sharks are A List celebs making appearances in media across the globe (As they should be because they are AWESOME). Discovery has teamed up with some heavy hitters in the conservation world to make this year’s shows even better than ever with a strong focus on education and conservation.

The MexiBBQ in Astoria, New York has decided to celebrate Shark Week by serving SHARK TACOS! Yes, grilled bull shark tacos. I wrote to the restaurant and informed them that bull shark is listed as a near threatened species on the ICUN red list and that serving shark is unnecessary and unhealthy for people and the environment. I received a reply that assured me that they are using mako shark not bull shark, as if this remedied the whole situation. They also stated that they were “We respect and obey all environmental restrictions and thank you for pointing it out...” They probably honestly believe that this is what they are doing and do no understand that shark should not be served for any reason.

The food review has been circulating the Internet and no doubt they are feeling some pressure to make a more educated decision about their menu items. Not knowing is no longer an excuse. Do you homework. Sharks populations are being decimated across the globe, they do not need to be served in tacos or anything else. There is no shortage of food options for fancy restaurants in New York ,so there is absolutely no reason to offer it.

It is quite easy to point the finger at countries in Asia and other parts of the world, but the reality is that shark is being killed and served in our own backyards. The mako they are purchasing is probably being caught off New York, as they are regular catches in the fishing tournaments held there.

Just as I was finishing this blog I received an email from MexiBBQ stating, “In light of the recent awareness shown to us MexiBBQ will not serve Mako Shark. We were not aware that this breed of shark was on the endangered species list, and we have no intention of serving any fish that may become extinct. We apologize if we showed insensitivity to this matter.”

The rush of calls and emails from concerned ocean advocates made a difference. We all have a voice and if we speak with intelligence and compassion that voice can be very powerful. Thank you MexiBBQ for making a change to better help our oceans.

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