Wednesday 5 June 2019

Icelandic fishermen fired for cruelty to Greenland Shark.

Two Icelandic fishermen have been fired after cutting the tail off a Greenland Shark, Somniosus microcephalus, throwing it back into the water, then posting film of themselves mocking the wounded animal onto Facebook. Halldór Gústaf Guðmundsson and Gunnar Þór Óðinsson were crew members on a Bíldseyar SH 65-owned vessel before the incident, but were quickly fired after an outcry on social media, with the company issuing a statement that it believed in 'good working practises and responsible handling of resources and the environment in general'. The men may also face criminal charges from authorities in Iceland or Denmark (the later because the incident happened in Danish territorial waters off the coast of Greenland). The Shark is thought to have no chance of surviving without its tail.

An injured Greenland Shark, Somniosus microcephalus, swimming away from an Icelandic fishing vessel after having it's tail removed. Facebook.

Greenland Sharks are a coldwater Sleeper Shark species found in the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans. They are piscivores (Fish eaters) and never attack Humans (species of Shark which target Marine Mammals will sometimes attack Humans, though they usually spit us out), and for the most part are not consumed by Humans either, due to the high levels of trimethylamine oxides (which are both toxic and foul smelling) in their flesh, though in Iceland Greenland Shark meat detoxified by fermenting is eaten as a delicacy, kæstur hákarl.

 A healthy Greenland Shark at a landslide debris field between Alvin and Nantucket Canyons, off the coast of New England, in August 2013. Okeanos Explorer/NOAA/Wikimedia Commons.

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