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Save the Sharks?

In today’s Times, Andy Revkin reports on a new study by the Lenfest Ocean Program that will surely inspire a rush to the barricades for certain environmentalists:

Some shark populations in the Mediterranean Sea have completely collapsed, according to a new study, with numbers of five species declining by more than 96 percent over the past two centuries. “This loss of top predators could hold serious implications for the entire marine ecosystem, greatly affecting food webs throughout this region,” said the lead author of the study, Francesco Ferretti, a doctoral student in marine biology at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

My question is: how much public and philanthropic enthusiasm can be drummed up for a Save the Sharks campaign? Save the whales, sure, and baby seals, definitely — but sharks?

Even though sharks present a rare living link to prehistoric times, and even though the severity of shark attacks is egregiously overblown, the first step toward “saving” them (if indeed such an effort is necessary, and worthwhile) may be a rebranding campaign. Maybe Steven Spielberg could be enlisted. It’s all his fault anyway, isn’t it?