Stop shark finning

This video says about itself:

Great white shark Nicole has traveled across the ocean – will the demand for shark fin soup bring her journey to an end?

From Wildlife Extra:

Eating shark fin soup makes you stupid

Sharks are killed on an industrial scale for their fins – But it is entirely unsustainable.

70 – 100 million sharks killed every year – Completely unsustainable

April 2012. Shark fin soup is seen as a luxury and prestigious dish and is often served at weddings and banquets. Although it has no taste, it is desired for its texture – somewhat sinewy apparently. Shark fin soup was much prized by Chinese emperors, but as there were so few of these, it never threatened shark populations until many many more people became able to afford it.

Unintended consequences – Scallop fishery collapse – Coral reef destruction – Sea grass disappearing

Unfortunately nowadays, many millions of people now eat the soup and consequently, sharks are being killed at a completely unsustainable rate. Whilst some foolish people may think – So what, who needs sharks? The answer is we all do. The almost complete disappearance of large sharks from the Eastern seaboard of the USA has led to a collapse of the once prolific and profitable scallop industry. Why? The absence of large sharks has seen numbers of rays, especially cow-nose rays, increase rapidly, and what do they eat? Scallops. (Now there are so few scallops, indications are that they will turn to clams and oysters.).

Similar effects have been shown to destroy coral reefs (fish that eat coral abound without shark predation) and sea grass beds (Dugong eat a lot more when there are no sharks about), and some key fish stocks are depleted when seal numbers increase. Thus the effects are widespread, and often unforeseen. Canada is often pilloried for killing seals, which they do partly to protect fish stocks – Yet if there were more sharks about this may well not be necessary.

Shark decline unsustainable

At these current rates, many large sharks may become extinct in many of the areas that they used to be found in in a few years’ time. The trouble is that if this happens, as can be seen from the current butchery of rhinos and elephants, the price for shark fin will go up and so the few that there are will be even more persecuted.

According to – Scientists estimate that fishing has reduced large predatory fish populations worldwide by 90 percent over the past 50 to 100 years.

Sharks now represent the largest group of threatened marine species on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species. Yet only three of the 350 shark species – basking, whale and white – are protected from the pressures of international trade. The remaining species are ignored or seen as low priorities despite their vulnerability to overfishing and their important role in their ecosystems.

70% + decline in shark populations

Dr. Julia Baum and colleagues studied US fisheries data, focusing on swordfish and tuna as these fisheries often kills sharks too. They studied more than 200,000 longlines records from Northwest Atlantic Ocean between 1986 and 2000, when fishing vessels recorded the number of sharks of various species caught. From this data they worked out how many sharks were caught, and what the trends were in shark catch.

Their results were shocking, showing declines in many sharks of more than 65%. For example hammerhead shark population declined 89%, Great white sharks 79%, tiger sharks 65%, thresher sharks 80%, blue sharks 60%, and mako sharks by 70%.

Indonesia, India, Spain and Taiwan account for more than 35 percent of all sharks taken annually

The top 20 shark catching countries account for more than 640,000 tonnes of (reported) shark catch annually, nearly 80 percent of total shark catch reported globally. The top 10, in order, are: Indonesia, India, Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico, Pakistan, United States, Japan, and Malaysia.

73 million sharks killed every year

Worldwide, shark populations are in decline due to unregulated fishing, much of it to meet the high demand for fins. Up to 73 million sharks are killed annually primarily for their fins, which are used as an ingredient in shark fin soup, a popular dish in many East Asian countries. In fact this number is likely to be more than 100 million as recording is so difficult, and is actively hidden in many fisheries.

So here is the thing – Demand for shark fins will drive sharks to extinction – And it will have the following consequences :-

Important fisheries will close down
Coral reefs will die
Some species will become much more numerous, others will disappear, and many marine habitats and will be altered – With unknown consequences.

If you continue to demand and eat Shark fins, you are risking untold and unknown damage to the planet – You must be really really stupid.

Experts call for basking shark awareness: here.

Bruce Wright, a senior scientist at the Aleutian Pribilof Island Association, wrote an article for the Alaska Dispatch newspaper that proposed an interesting idea: “For years, legendary tales from Scotland and Western Alaska described large animals or monsters thought to live in Loch Ness and Lake Iliamna. But evidence has been mounting that the Loch Ness and Lake Iliamna monsters may, in fact, be sleeper sharks”: here.

USA: Illinois Senate Passes Shark Fin Ban: here.

CI recently accompanied a community patrol in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, that uncovered and stopped the slaughter of sharks, manta rays and sea cucumbers — in a protected area where fishing of any kind is illegal. To learn more, read a blog post by CI’s Bram Goram, who was there for the showdown: here.

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