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sean
 
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Sharks - A potential source for fossil fuel?

23 April 2012, 09:32

It was really sad in what happened to this young man that got killed by that great white shark and my sincere condolences to his family and friends for their loss.

Why the public were allowed to even swim in these very same waters where a film crew were granted permission to throw two tons of chum into the waters so as to lure the predators in, is very strange indeed.A line had to be drawn somewhere and unfortunately nobody even bothered to do so.

Like all opportunistic creatures,sharks are no different and when an opportunity like this comes along,they took it. Unfortunately it cost a twenty year old boy his life.Alot can be made from this incident. From whether the film crew should be blamed for his sad death,whether it was a case of mistaken identity by the shark thinking it was a seal it had taken,whether evolution/creation has given the great white sharks powerful bites but very primitive brains to distinguish between its natural food source and us humans,whether sharks deliberately target humans as they know we human are just flappy swimmers that pose no real threat to them,or something else.

Sharks however run the risk of being the target for reasons not always looked at by the ordinary swimmer/taxpayer and that is as potentially a future source of fossil fuel to humans.

How would that work? Well through a chemical called methylmercury.What is methylmercury exactly?Methylmercury is an organic form of mercury and a poison at that, that gets produced directly through industrial processes and natural reactions in the environment. Through industrial waste,companies releases methylmercury in the rivers and the oceans where it gets absorbed by fish innitially who in turn gets eaten by sharks. When mercury gets into the river system and oceans it settles at at the base or bottom of the floor where moving bacteria in the mud or sand converts it into an organic form known as methylmercury.

Burning fossil fuel produces elementary mercury. The more anaerobic organisms gets added to elementary mercury to begin with,the stronger the risk becomes for methalmercury to form. This is where our rivers and oceans becomes a hotbed for controversy.

Demethylation takes place in the rivers and oceans as part of the transformation process and sharks having fish on their diet becomes the source for this compound. Scientist in microbiology and the energy sector can if they realize it,placed sharks in tanks and then drain out all the built-up absorbed methylmercury from these animals. It is by the way fossil fuel combustion coupled with other air pollutants that got stuck in the sharks body.

Nebraska DHHS: Environmental Risk Assessment: Fish Tissue says ..."Methylmercury (organic mercury) which occurs naturally and gets released into the environment from mining operations, fossil fuel combustion,trash incineration, and industrial waste discharges....Methylmercury can be found in water and soil, fish and shellfish.Methylmercury accumulates in fish tissue, primarily in older and larger predatory fish...[Methylmercury gets absorbed by phytoplankton which then gets eaten by small fish who in turn gets eaten by sharks].

Coal remains South Africa's primary source of energy and fuel,yet look at the human health problems associated with mining this fuel. Air pollution that creates black lung cancer,the soil erosion and water pollution which harms ourselves and our environment. Could sharks become the alternative source of fossil fuel without destroying our environment or the sharks?

References:

1.www.wisegeek.com/what-is-methylmercury.

2.Nebraska DHHS: Environmental Risk Assessment: Fish Tissue.

3.R&D Opportunities For Advanced Fossil-fuelled Energy Complexes Volume 21.

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