Sink or Swim: Can Art Save Sharks?

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Passionate artists are raising awareness for the injustice and cruelty of shark finning. Can art change the way people think about sharks? One organization (called PangeaSeed) seems to think so. They’ve planted themselves in the heart of Japan to host an art exhibit called “Sink or Swim”. The goal of the show is to change minds. Check out this video and be prepared to be inspired!

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In the spirit of ocean conservation the Japan-based non-profit organization, PangeaSeed, is ramping up it’s summer activities in Tokyo and abroad with events tailored to address one the biggest threats facing the health of world’s oceans today — the rapid mass depletion of sharks.

The “Sink or Swim” art show aims to offer viewers new perspectives on the widely misunderstood and demonized shark. Located at Tokyo’s M Event Space in Daikanyama, Tokyo Sink or Swim featured never-before-seen artwork from over 40 artists from Japan and around the globe, such as Dave Kinsey, Yoh Nagao, Brad Klausen, and Jim Phillips.

The series of events showcased the issues surrounding shark finning in Asia and other parts of the world, where the majority of these sharks are killed only for their fins to satisfy an unsustainable appetite for shark fin soup. In the cruel practice known as “finning,” the shark is hooked and brought aboard the boat where its fins are then cut off and the still alive but limbless animal is tossed back into the sea to drown.

With each minute that passes close to 200 sharks are killed, adding up to an astonishing 80 million deaths each year. In the spring of 2010, the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations reported that if we continue to consumer seafood at the current dangerous and unsustainable levels, our oceans’ fish will be gone by 2048.

However, even more disturbing is that many shark species could possibly be extinct in the next 10 to 20 years due to irresponsible consumption habits, destructive fishing practices, lack of education and the absence of international laws and regulations to protect sharks and the oceans. In the past 50 years humans have dangerously reduced global shark populations by 90%. With many shark species so critically endangered it may be impossible to recover.

Shark now represent the greatest percentage of threatened marine species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

In addition to raising funds to keep sharks afloat both in Japan and around the world, PangeaSeed donated a percentage of proceeds to help aid animals affected by the March 2011 earthquake in Japan.

For more information: PangeaSeed.com

P.S. If you are wondering, here’s where Tokyo Japan is located: