Shark finning is one of the most harmful fishing practices used today. Sharks are caught, their fins are cut off, then they’re released off the side of the boat, left to sink to the bottom of the ocean and drown. Tens of millions of sharks are sadly killed this way every year, but there are things we can do to end it.
1. SHARKS ARE KILLED FOR SOUP
Shark fin soup is a delicacy in some Asian countries. It’s incredibly expensive, selling for $500 per pound and a single bowl can cost $100. The high price tag positions it as a status symbol, so it’s often served at weddings and banquets.
Many falsely believe that shark fin soup offers significant health benefits which have been discredited by studies. Ironically, shark fins have no nutritional benefits and there is growing concern about the amount of mercury and other toxins in the meat.
2. MILLIONS OF SHARKS FALL VICTIM EACH YEAR
Humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks every year, and the fins of approximately 73 million of these sharks wind up being used in shark fin soup. This is markedly lower than the number of humans killed by sharks each year. In fact, 2018 saw fewer shark bites overall, and only five of these bites proved fatal.
3. SHARK FINNING THREATENS ENTIRE ECOSYSTEMS
The vast scale of shark finning rids the oceans of sharks, which is having dire consequences for marine ecosystems across the world. Healthy ecosystems require a delicate balance of prey and predator, and when the top predator is killed off, it causes a ripple effect throughout the rest of the food chain. When an area is depleted of top-chain predators like sharks, populations of lower-chain predators, like sea lions, skyrocket, then killing off species lower down in the food chain.
4. EDUCATION CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
Fortunately, the tide is turning in countries like China, where shark fin soup consumption has dropped by 80 percent in the past 8 years. In other countries, the outlook is much more grim: consumption is growing in countries like Thailand and Vietnam.
How can we stop shark finning? Legislation and law enforcement prevent the supply of shark fin from hitting the marketplace, while education and public awareness campaigns has proven to be effective in reducing demand of the meat.
Many simply don’t realize that sharks are mercilessly butchered and left to drown, so spreading the word about the fishing practice can prevent people from purchasing the soup. Well-known public figures are also instrumental in dropping consumption. Public awareness campaigns have used the influence of celebrities like Yao Ming and Jackie Chan to educate the public and change their consumption habits.
5. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IS WORKING TO END SHARK FINNING
Shark finning is illegal in the U.S., but the fins can legally be bought and sold. New legislation was recently introduced to ban the trading of fins from threatened or endangered species and sharks caught illegally or in countries that lack shark finning laws. Support the law by signing Shark Stewards’ petition here.
Protect sharks with your purchase of any of our shark designs, including the Great White Shark Ring, Shark Fin Necklace, or Hammerhead Clasp. 15% of profits from every design are donated to our non-profit partners that are working to protect sharks across the globe.