Silence in the Depths

Down in the obsidian
teeth and sinew flex
against the remorseless flow
of that immense and gelid gloom.
There move leviathans –
archaic dread
made flesh,
hewn from the brine itself
these crawling shadows
from the drowned world’s womb.
Yet now the sleekest blades
descend on high –
the slash,
the rend,
the price
of new delicacies.
Precious squalene
to be sold and rendered
to our latest craze,
as tidal-ghosts
lay banished,
born now
to emptiness,

This poem is inspired by recent research, which has found that fishing for oil and meat drives deepwater shark and ray decline.

The deep sea remains one of the few places on Earth largely untouched by human activities, serving as a sanctuary for a diverse range of wildlife. In these remote depths, particular types of fish, such as deepwater sharks and rays, find a haven where they have thrived, away from the intense fishing pressures that affect many other species. However, these animals are extremely vulnerable to overfishing due to their naturally low populations and slow reproduction rates.

This new study has highlighted a concerning trend among these deepwater creatures. It has been discovered that a significant proportion of deepwater sharks are being hunted, primarily for the oil in their livers, which is highly sought after internationally. The research indicates that such practices have placed many species at risk, with some on the brink of extinction. These sharks and rays face such drastic population declines that recovery is challenging, exacerbated by a lack of effective management and conservation measures. The research underscores the urgent need for stringent depth and area restrictions on fishing, improved catch regulations, and international cooperation in trade oversight. By taking these steps, it is hoped that we can still prevent the loss of these remarkable species and to foster their recovery, ensuring the continued health of deep ocean ecosystems.

2 thoughts on “Silence in the Depths”

  1. Very visceral and emotive Sam. Sharks in particular have been hunted for centuries and it’s barmy they continue to be to satisfy human whims. These apex predators are both intelligent and integral to our ecosystems. Without them, our oceans are subject to collapse and we are well on our way to decimating this habitat which we still know limitated information about. Thank you for commenting on this issue.


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