Greenpeace has created an animated film to coincide with Shark Awareness Day (14 July) to bring to life the findings of its recent report, Hooked on sharks, which has reavealed a 70% drop in the shark population since 1975.
The report claims the decline has been driven by EU fishing fleets, mainly from Spain and Portugal, which consistently fish in shark nursery grounds in the North Atlantic.
On an average day in the North Atlantic, fishing boats submerge more than 1,200 km of fishing line that contains anything between 15,000 to 28,000 hooks.
Greenpeace said that while the North Atlantic’s longline fishery nominally targets swordfish, it has transitioned to rely on shark bycatch to remain profitable, as global demand for shark products continues to grow (the global industry is now worth over $1bn annually).
Working with Spindle Studio, in partnership with Red Knuckles, Greenpeace has released a moving animation "The lonely shark". It delivers a poignant warning about the devastating effects that overfishing for profit has on shark species and other marine life, through the tale of Sofia and Valeria; two sharks caught up in the horrors of industrial fishing.
Thom Yorke’s evocative cover of Radiohead’s Bloom serves as an immersive soundtrack, as Sofia and Valeria swim happily through the deep ocean. Sadly, their swim gets caught short by a line hook that has already claimed the lives of many sharks before them.
The film ends with the message: "A strong global ocean treaty will protect shark species and revive marine life."
Next month, governments will meet to finalise a UN Global Ocean Treaty, which could lay the foundations for "30x30", a pledge to protect 30% of the planet’s oceans by 2030. In advance of this, Greenpeace has set up "Protect the Ocean" petition.
“This beautiful animated film brings the horrors of industrial fishing home,” Aakash Naik, head of communications and engagement for Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign, said.
“This is happening every day on the high seas, and sharks are suffering. In the last 50 years, shark populations globally have plummeted by 70%. Something has to be done. We need a strong Global Ocean Treaty this year, to help sharks and all other marine life recover from centuries of human exploitation.”