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The Many Important Reasons To Ban Shark Finning

I know sharks may not be any priority for some of you, but it really is good to know about how shark finning and over-fishing affects us. The ocean is like a blue carpet, just because we cannot initially see under it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t being damaged.

A Conscious World

In recent years with the rise of travel and the boom of social media, the world and the people have shown their conscience about protecting our planet. From helping the environment, whether that’s from reducing CO2 emissions or plastic use, or raising awareness about ivory poaching or elephant riding, there are voices out there making changes happen. Now, that doesn’t mean that everything is right and dandy, but at least people are pushing for humans and our uses of living things and resources to be controlled responsibly. Shark finning is one of them. I’m raising the awareness about shark finning because really not enough people know about it. If you like to travel, you like surf, scuba dive, or anything to do with the ocean, you should read this article. If you feel connected to the ocean in anyway, and that might mean you just like to sunbathe next to it when you travel, so be it. Sharks are apart of that ocean and the way there are decapitated is the worst animal cruelty that happens today. Also, shark finning happens everywhere, even in the UK, but typically people only associate finning with places in Asia, such as China and Japan where it’s incredibly common.

Old Perceptions

Sharks once upon time were our biggest fear. The movies like Jaws didn’t exactly expel them fears, and the thought of a huge teethe fish with a large dorsal fin in the water would be anyone’s nightmare. We’d feel helpless and certain for death. But sharks have been extensively studied in recent years, and it turns out that there aren’t as purposeful towards humans as they are incorrectly made out.  You can even scuba dive with all ranges of sharks including Bull and Tiger sharks, and even approach them be up close. Why? Because sharks have no real interest in us . If you thought sharks were eating away at humans year after year, you’d be wrong. Put it this way, cows kill more humans a year than what sharks do. Remember if any RARE killings occur, it’s because we are in THEIR waters and are often mistaken for another species. Shark attacks predominately happen at the surface, but barely any happen.

The media can sometimes exaggerate shark attacks because of the unusual nature that occurs when one takes place.  Sharks have rows of razor-sharp teeth so when depicted in the media, they are instantly given a vicious stereotype. The media like to demonise sharks as being monsters when really they are just big fish, praying on smaller marine life as part of the food chain.  Although shark attacks are often severe, they are RARE. 

With that been said, shark finning is something that is important to try and eradicate across the world. The barbaric act of cutting the fins of sharks, throwing them back into the water decapitated and left to die. Imagine someone cut your arms and legs off and let you go figure? The sharks are then EATEN ALIVE by other fishes. How dreadful is that?

Why does this act take place?

Primarily for mythical medicinal purposes such as shark fin soup, mostly sold in China, or for trophies or other fake spiritual collections. Shark fins can be sold for hundreds of dollars too, which make them attractive to nations who aren’t so well off. Although you can understand why people do this in poorer countries because of the wealth it can provide for their families, overall unfortunately it is a multi-billion dollar industry.  The whole act of shark finning actually affects us and our planet a whole lot more than one might think. Shark finning is a needless act and the reasons for it to be banned are many. Why?

The Soup Is Pointless 

In China, they believe shark fin soup makes them stronger when really it’s all myth. The soup is bland anyway and just for the novelty. There are plenty better soups to have, and other foods that are better managed and have less affect on the ocean and marine ecosystems.

Dorsal Fins, Chinatown, Thailand 2017.

Ancient Species Endangered

Isn’t this enough? Our most ancient species are being killed off due to silly modern acts. Why would we want to delete our species history for the sake of consumption? Our world has been and is fascinating but killing everything for our own benefit is stupidity. There are other options for us to choose from when we eat.

Note: Shark finning is widespread across the world and largely unmonitored.

Tangles With Marine Ecosystems

Sharks are apex predators, and with the mass killing and over fishing that happens today, killing off one of the species top of the food change alters the rest of the cycle. Keeping sharks in the water help keep other species population in check and also preserve the healthy species in the waters by ridding of the sick and injured. It’s like a domino effect.

Over Fishing

You wouldn’t believe it but an estimated 100 MILLION sharks of all shapes and sizes are killed ever year, for their fins. It’s difficult to imagine there are that many in the water, but due to unnecessary overfishing this happens. If we overfish we consume what’s in the ocean, and despite most of the ocean already being empty, without a healthy ocean or marine life existence, this spreads to the land WE live on too.

Note: Longlining operations are the largest cause for the decrease in shark populations.

Barbaric

Shark finning is pure animal cruelty. Although a lack of awareness in some sections of a country like in Asia, there isn’t much thought given. However, imagine someone cut your arms and legs off and said go figure?

Wasteful Sport

The dorsal fins are worth hundreds of dollars, especially on the black market. Yet sharks bodies and exteriors are not worth enough for some fisherman to keep on board. The sharks carcass is thrown back into the water without thought. Taking that into an account, that’s a huge waste. Whoever sees killing of an innocent animal quickly and dreadfully as a sport is weak themselves.

Did You Know?

  • You’re 16 times more likely to be hit my lightening by bitten by a shark.
  • Shark fins contain high level amounts of mercury,  so eating them is unhealthy.
  • The consumption of shark fins is only traditional to wealthy Chinese culture, not all classes.
  • More and more Chinese are prospering so more are eating shark fin soup.
  • At this rate, in a decade most species of sharks will be EXTINCT.
White tip shark, Galapagos, Ecuador 2014.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Shark finning does exist in the UK unfortunately, but there are organisations to support. I’m an a Ambassador for Fin Fighters UK whose aim is to eradicate shark finning in the UK by 2023. You can help support them by becoming a volunteer, donating or raising awareness by sharing content from their social media pages including Facebook and Twitter.

WHAT YOU SHOULD WATCH & USEFUL LINKS

To understand how the ocean affects us and how we need to protect it, please watch Dr Sylvia Earle in Mission Blue.

These websites below are in particular fundamental to the banning of shark finning.

https://www.marineconservation.org.au/pages/shark-finning.html

http://www.stopsharkfinning.net/

http://www.sharkfriends.com/sharks/sharkfinning.html

http://www.sharkwater.com/index.php/shark-education/

 

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Post Author
Tommy Walker

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