Jul 22, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Killing Sharks That Kill People Can Cause Oceanic Ecosystem Imbalance

May 10, 2017 08:24 AM EDT

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Culling sharks might cause an imbalance in the oceanic ecosystem and possible environmental consequences. Sharks and other top ocean predators are often threated with animosity due to increasing number of attacks on humans. But scientists argue that culling them out is not the answer.

There is an ongoing senate inquiry in Australia due to perennial attacks perpetrated by sharks. Logically, the first notion is to cull them out to avoid further loss of human lives. However, the apparent retaliatory response doesn't categorically present any proof that it can reduce the number of attacks, Phys.org said. Instead, the culling measure might simply tip out the ecosystem balance.

According to marine biology professor Robert Day of the University of Melbourne, sharks are regulators of the oceanic ecosystem. When other creatures' population is growing, sharks are cutting them to "manageable" level. If sharks are taken out of the equation, their supposed preys will multiply to a level that might eradicate smaller fishes in turn. The whole ecosystem will massively change in its structure.

There are two lesser known habits of sharks that assures a healthy ocean as well. Sharks are picking out preys that are weak, sick or old. This habit is resulting to disease prevention and strong gene pools. Secondly, sharks are efficient water cleaners as they scavenge on decomposing fishes, Outside Online narrated.

Take for example the case of tiger sharks which went through an extensive observation and study by Hawaii-based researchers. The study has proven that tiger sharks play an important role in keeping the sea grass beds healthy. The tiger shark preys on turtles that might overgraze on the grass beds if left unregulated.

Meanwhile, there is a debate and comparison in between the atrocities not just by sharks against humans, but humans against sharks as well. In Australia alone, there were 4 human fatalities in 2016 while the worldwide average is 10 deaths resulting from attacks. On the contrary, there is an estimated rate of 100 million sharks being killed by humans every year, either for food or plain sport.

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