OCEANS IN CRISIS
Our oceans have become barbaric battlegrounds and slaughterhouses of slavery and shame!
What is Shark Finning
Shark finning is the practice of cutting off a sharks fins. The process is inhumane and barbaric because the sharks fins are removed while the shark is still alive and afterwards the still alive sharks are just discarded and thrown back into the ocean.
Most species of shark need to swim and move in order to pass water over their gills to breath efficiently. Without their fins, they struggle to swim and the inability to swim makes them sink to the bottom of the ocean to die of suffocation or get scavanged by other ocean creatures. Some sharks could take days to die a horrible, struggling and cruel death.
Shark finning takes place in the open ocean and all species of sharks are targeted irrespective of size or age. Only the fins are taken because sharks are heavy and they take up too much space on the fishing vessels. Shark meat is considered as not economically viable because it has a low value.
The Shark Finning Trade
Over the past few decades the rise in the demand for shark fins has increased alarmingly. The fins are mostly used in traditional medicines or to make 'shark fin soup' which is viewed as a prized delicacy and even a symbol of status in some countries.
Modern fishing methods and advances in technology have contributed to improvements in equipment and more cost effective fishing operations. The practice takes place in the open oceans and trade in shark fins is mostly unmonitored so shark populations are under threat and in crisis globally.
The modern day shark finning trade is estimated to be worth over USD 2 billion and one kilogram of shark fins is said to be worth around USD 500 making them one of the most expensive and sought after seafoods in the world.
Uses Of Shark Fins
Shark fins are mainly used to make shark fin soup which is considered to be an Asian delicacy. China and other Far East nations are known to be the highest importers of shark fins. A single bowl of shark fin soup could cost as much as USD125 and is often served at wedding ceremonies and other special occasions.
Shark fins alone have absolutely no taste and they provide only the jelly-like component of the shark fin soup which is flavoured with chicken stock or other taste ingredients.
The Impact of Shark Finning
Global shark populations are under serious threat and while it is impossible to evaluate the numbers precicely, it is a fact that they are in severe decline. There is no selection process during fishing and any species and size and age of shark is a target. This unmanaged overfishing has a direct impact on current and future breading populations and the ability of different species of sharks to reproduce and recover their population numbers. This has resulted in a serious global concern that some species are bordering on extinction.
It is currently estimated that over one hundred million sharks are being finned annually and about 10,000 tonnes of shark fins are being traded globally every year. Statistics show that shark populations have reduced by over eighty percent in the past five decades.
This inhumane and industrial scale overfishing activity is not only affecting the global shark populations but also the oceans natural selection ecosystem. Sharks are apex predators of the oceans and they play a crucial role in the ecological stability and balance of the global oceans ecosystem. Decreasing shark populations and shellfish overfishing have been scientifically linked to a decrease in the shellfish numbers. Shellfish purify the water in the oceans and reduced numbers inevitably affect the oceans water quality. Without the natural predatory balance within the current shark populations, the numbers of small sharks has increased dramatically which has in turn resulted in a sharp increase in the consumption of shellfish.
Sharks species like requiem sharks, hammerhead sharks, basking sharks, and whale sharks are among 39 species of sharks that have been listed as being the most endangered and at real risk of extinction.
Laws and Regulations
In 2013, 27 countries and the European Union made the practice of shark finning illegal.
The practice violates the United Nations Convention on the Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).
Irrespective the current laws and regulations, the practice of shark finning is mostly unmonitored, unmanaged and virtually out of control.
We call to action all those who care about our oceans and the future of this planet to support our work, in collaboration with all like minded global conservation organisations, towards mobilising more effective action to influence political decision making processes for the eventual total banning of all shark finning practices worldwide.
We need to advocate for more comprehensive regulations and laws banning the sale of shark fins.