If Megaladon Was Alive Today, Scientists Say We Would Kill It For Soup
Megaladon have been gone from the ocean for millennia, but they’re alive and well in B-movies. After watching the new Asylum feature Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark a group of marine biologists were inspired to crunch some numbers and now say that even if megaladon someday resurfaced, it wouldn’t be for long.
Conservationist and shark expert David Shiffman writes for Southern Fried Science:
It should be noted that fin to carcass ratios are not a great way to manage a shark fishery, but we can use the global average fin to carcass ratio to estimate how large a megalodon’s fins would be. If a typical adult megalodon would weigh 50 metric tons, and on average 3% of a shark’s mass is fins, then we can estimate that a typical adult megalodon would have approximately 1.5 metric tons of fins. The market prices for fins listed above are for dried fins, but since there is limited information on how much weight is lost during drying, I’ll assume for the purpose of this and future calculations that the total weight of a megalodon’s fins does not change during drying.
Let’s ignore recent market trends and the extra added value of rare, large fins, and just the low-end estimate of $400 per kilogram. If a typical adult megalodon has 1.5 metric tons (1,500 kilograms) of fins, and fins sell for $400 a kilogram, then the fins of an adult megalodon could be sold for a total of $600,000. If it takes three quarters of an ounce of dried shark fin to make one bowl of shark fin soup, then with 1.5 metric tons (52,910 ounces) of shark fins, you could make 70,456 bowls of shark fin soup.
Those estimates might actually seem small for anyone who has sat through part of Asylum’s Mega Shark franchise, but as Shiffman points out, the megalodons in the “Mega Shark vs.” series are much larger than biologists’ current “conservative estimate” of 50 feet.
Shiffman concludes by saying that if an actual megaladon (or “Mega Shark”) were to surface, the lucrative possibilities for the fin-fishing industry would probably lead to the creature’s quick demise.
And if the hypothetical overfishing of a species that has been extinct for millions of years has you as upset as it has me, you should learn more about the real overfishing of shark species that are still around… at least for now.
Kudos to Shiffman and his pals for using the totally hypothetical and not at all scientifically accurate silliness of Mega Shark to shed light on a very real and extremely serious issue. Come on, people! Haven’t we found a more environmentally friendly way to make money off sharks than soup? There’s gold in them thar Sharknados!
For shame, human beings. At this point I think we deserve to get punk’d by Discovery.