You likely know Jason Momoa as Aquaman or Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones. But this week, Momoa found himself playing the role of the former for real in a situation that clearly pissed him off.

That situation, as you may have seen, began last week when two Icelandic fisherman found a Greenland Shark (incidentally, the same type of shark that returns each autumn to the St Lawrence River), caught in their lines.

Rather than untangle the creature, and let it go on its way, the two men cut off the shark’s tale, filmed the incident, and laughed at the shark’s plight like a couple of psychopaths.

That hasn’t gone over terribly well. And Jason Momoa, well, let’s just say Aquaman was quick to reach for his trident.

Jason Momoa Once Majored in Marine Biology

It’s no surprise that Jason Momoa was cast to play Aquaman, protector of the ocean. Before hitting it on big screen, he actually majored in Marine Biology, and is well known for his commitment to the environment.

Sharks in particular are close to his heart. He’s got several shark tattoos, his Hawaiian family crest is a shark, and of course, he’s of Hawaiian culture, which literally worships sharks as gods.

So you can imagine why he lost his shit after watching the video (as many people did). His words, on Instagram: “You will get what the shark got.”

Here’s the post:

It’s an understandable reaction and, frankly, I might have done the same thing. And he meant what he said – big time – to the point he named the two men who did the deed and provided links to their Facebook profiles.

That put them in touch with Momoa’s 12.4 million Instagram followers – most, if not all of whom draw a very clear line in the sand when it comes to animal abuse.

Did He Go Too Far?

His actions drew mixed reactions. Many observers were quick to support him. People get bloodthirsty when it comes to hurting animals. Speaking as a diehard animal lover, I completely get that.

Jason Momoa once majored in Marine Biology, before he switched to Wildlife Biology. Photo Credit: By Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia – Jason Momoa, Aquaman, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75248662

Mess with the bull, you get the horns. Or, as in this case, the whole fuckin’ pack.

But he’s also taken heat for his actions. Because in sharing their names, he potentially put their family, friends, and children, if any in front of a whole lot of pissed off people with pitchforks. None of their loved ones took part in the incident. Expose them to millions of folks out for blood and, well, you see where this is going.

Sharks Need Help

So, why am I writing this post, and what’s Abenaki’s position? There’s a place for celebrity and there’s a time to be mad. Yes, we live in a time of outrage, and at times it gets out of hand. But what if the opposite were true?

50 years ago, the Canadian government killed thousands of basking sharks off the coast of British Columbia. They were sliced open, with huge blades, because fishermen saw them as a nuisance.

Basking sharks, which once swam in the thousands off British Columbia, were virtually eradicated here, with less than 10 sightings in the past 20 years. Their recovery, if it happens, will likely take over 200 years.

We’re Grateful For Jason Momoa

Celebrities have influence. They’re admired, in the spotlight, and followed by millions of fans. They can use that for good purposes or bad.

You’re familiar with many of the latter. But there are plenty of celebrities who use their influence to bring good in this world.

Matt Damon helps children. Bon Jovi builds homes. Angelina Jolie helps those in war-torn countries. And Jason Momoa, well, he’s Aquaman – and not just on film.

About 75 Million Sharks are ‘shark-finned’ each year to make an Asian delicacy called shark fin soup. And it’s devastating the marine ecosystem. Help us, Jason Momoa. Photo Credit: By Grolltech – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26836192

Did he go too far? Perhaps. But he did so because he gives a flyin’ fig about the ocean and the creatures within it. That’s not an excuse to put others in danger. But it is reason to be mad, step up, and make a statement that some things are sacred.

About 100 million sharks are killed yearly – 75 million of which have their fins hacked off and are thrown back in the ocean to die a horrible death. The late Rob Stewart brought that to light. Now folks are getting on board and spreading the word: we need sharks, for the oceans they manage and the planet they sustain.

And for that, we shout out to Jason Momoa: Aquaman, Instagram star, imperfect, influential and not-so-quiet eye on our oceans, who has a voice, and clearly is not afraid to use it. Aquaman, real or not, has a place in 2019.