Shark finning is when fishermen catch sharks, hack off their fin and throw them alive back in the ocean. As if thats not bad enough, the sharks dont die, this could take days to happen. They either starve to death, get eaten alive by other fish or drown because if they are not in constant movement their gills cannot get oxygen from the water.
Because the market for fins in Asia is growing every year, there is now tens of millions of sharks being killed for a 'delicacy' called shark fin soup. Many restaurants often charge up to $100 for a bowl of shark fin soup, in fact The Flower Drum restaurant in Melbourne renowned as the finest cantonese restaurant in Australia charges $160 for a bowl of supreme shark fin soup! Amazingly, the shark fin itself is tasteless, all it does is provide the gelatinous bulk for the soup which is then flavoured with chicken or beef stock.
Many species of shark are being pushed to the brink of extinction. In fact, since the 1970's, several species have been decimated by over 95%. Records are rarely kept of exactly the number of species that are caught. The only way estimates can be made is by the declared imports in to China.
EFFECTS ON SHARK POPULATIONS
Shark populations worldwide have been decimated. Tens of millions of sharks are slaughtered every year and at least 8,000 tonnes of shark fins are shipped to restaurants around the world. Fishermen report that sharks are getting smaller because they are not being given time to mature. Shark populations take a long time to recover as they can take over seven years to reach maturity and they only raise one or two pups a year. Twenty species of sharks are listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). In a few years many species of shark could become extinct if action is not taken immediately. Populations of many shark species have fallen by over 90%. Since 1972 the number of blacktip sharks has fallen by 93%, tiger sharks by 97% and bull sharks, dusky sharks and smooth hammerheads by 99%.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF SHARKS BECOME EXTINCT
The consequences of the decline in shark populations on ocean life are immense. The large shark species are "apex" predators, they are ecological stablisers, once they are gone, all hell will break loose. For example along the US East Coast where large sharks such as black tip and tiger sharks have been virtually elimated, there have been declines in shellfish numbers and a reduction in water quality (shellfish filter sea water). Populations of small sharks, rays and skates have increased rapidly, consuming shellfish at an unsustainable rate. If you remove apex predators from an ecosystem the result is the same as removing the foundations from a building - total collapse.
According to TRAFFIC, Indonesia was the biggest shark catching country with 15% of the global total - that means Indonesian fishing vessels officially caught 122,000 tonnes of sharks - this figure is much lower than the actual amount due to underreporting of catches.
Save the shark from mankind. Every year 10 people die from shark attacks.
And 200,000,000 sharks die at human hands.
All our facts and information used with the kind permission from our friend Duncan, who runs the amazing site Stop Shark Finning Go check it out to learn more, see videos and learn what you can do to help.