WPY 2010

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2010

One Earth Award

Brian Skerry, United States of America

Tears of blood

Each year more than 100 million sharks are killed worldwide, threatening the surival of most species. The slaughter is in part driven by the high price paid for shark fins on the Asian market. Brian went to Baja California, Mexico, specifically to document the killing. There is no restriction on shark-fishing in the Gulf of California, and using gillnets, fishermen will fish out an area and then move on. This female mako shark was pregnant with nearly full-term pups. 'I was concentrating on composing the frame to show the finning of this beautiful fish, with the fisherman sharpening his knife in the background,' says Brian. 'It was only afterwards that I noticed the poignant "tear of blood".'

Technical specification

Nikon D2x + 16mm lens; 1/125 sec at f11; ISO 100.


Santa Rosalia, Gulf of California, Mexico: latitude 27.3413, longitude -112.26 Santa Rosalia, Gulf of California, Mexico: latitude 27.3413, longitude -112.26

Santa Rosalia, Gulf of California, Mexico

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Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry, United States of America

Brian Skerry is an award-winning photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine producing stories that both celebrate the ocean and shed light on environmental threats. His year round schedule finds him working in widely ranging ecosystems, from tropical coral reefs to diving beneath polar ice. Brian also frequently speaks to audiences worldwide having presented lectures at venues such as Royal Geographical Society in London, The National Press Club in Washington, DC, TED Talks and the Sydney Opera House. Brian’s has also worked on assignment for or had work featured in magazines such as BBC Wildlife, Smithsonian, GEO, Men’s Journal and Audubon. His latest monograph, Ocean Soul, features 160-photographs and stories about his life in the field.

  • Feast of the ancient mariner
  • Last of the tuna
  • The commodity market
  • Scraping the bottom
  • The true cost of shrimps
  • Waste products
  • The sacrifice
  • Creative dining
  • Dolphin downtime