Two notes of music is all it took.
F and F sharp.
That's how the audiences of Jaws learn something really bad was about to happen.
Fast forward a few decades and there is still a sense of terror when it comes to sharks, but now peoples sensitive side is showing, especially when it comes to the finning business.
Finning refers to the chopping off and cooking of shark fins. The rest of the shark's body is generally discarded in the ocean.
In the last decade, the practice has increased dramatically due to the demand for shark fin soup, a traditional Asian dish served in China and its territories.
There is a lot of food out there that requires an iron-clad stomach to swallow, like bat paste, where a live bat is put into a pot of boiling milk and then it's sliced, or hasma, the dish made from the fallopian tubes of a frog.
Who is the person that first thought of that as something that might taste good?
Kermit's sisters' reproductive system for dinner?
Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California and Guam took the step to ban the sale of shark fin soup. Soon after, Toronto and Calgary also set up a ban on the delicacy, and as of last week, Nanaimo joined that list. Before the ban on the sale of the soup, Canada banned the practice of shark finning, but the government left it up to the municipalities to decide on a ban.
What would happen if the shark, the apex predator of the deep blue sea ceased to exist? Who knows?
But the idea of a jungle without Mufasa or Simba doesn't sound like a very happy place to be.
People's affections tend to gravitate towards action when the animals in crisis are cuddly, or stripey and have a pink nose, but slowly the views on cutting off sharks fins and dumping them in the ocean to die, fur or not, is barbaric and unnecessary.
Part of the reason that the tasteless soup has gained so much notoriety is because the Chinese believe that to serve the soup is a sign of wealth and success. As an added bonus, the fins are also believed to enhance libido. Why do so many traditional Chinese foods also enhance sex drive?
It's important to note, that the issue lies in overfishing and is not a cultural attack.
Canadians eat prairie oysters and seal-flipper pie. Canada is hardly one to talk about another country's culture of food.
Researchers have estimated that some shark species near coral reefs have decreased by as much as 90 per cent. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts Environment Group, some 22.7 million pounds of shark fins or shark fin-based product are imported into Hong Kong alone every year.
Because so many dead sharks are smuggled into the black market, it's impossible to estimate how many are killed each year. But environmental groups estimate approximately 100 million sharks die by finning every year and the practice itself has put one-third of all shark species at risk of extinction.
In June of this year, the Chinese government announced that it would ban the serving of shark fin soup, although the ban doesn't stretch to Hong Kong, where the majority of the soup in sold. But the government said it would take three years to implement the new regulation. How long does it take to change a menu? Send white-out en masse to China.
"The predator has become the prey. The ocean's top predator is really us, and so we have a responsibility to take a closer look and protect [sharks]," Rachel Brittin, a spokesperson for Pew Environmental Group, told the Chicago Tribune.
Granted, sharks have an image problem.
The species needs a spin-doctor in the worst of ways. Somebody call Karl Rove, he isn't busy is he?
Because when sharks eat children, or the legs off surfers, they really do make it difficult to care about their well-being.
The fact is that if our oceans were shark-less, the entire chain of ocean-command would suffer. They are critical predators, they allow coral reefs to thrive and they cull the weak and sick from commercially important fish such as tuna.
If it were dolphins, or kitty cats whose limbs were being cut off and they were left to die, the world would be up-in-arms (so to speak), but instead the same thing is happening to sharks.