Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated and drawn to sharks. I have come to realise that the one animal we fear the most is the one animal that we cannot live without and shark numbers are quickly decreasing for a number of reasons but mainly due to shark finning. Shark finning is quite simply, removing the fins from the shark.
So little is known about sharks and how important they are to life on earth. They have been here for more than 400 million years, 150 million years before the dinosaurs and they have remained unchanged since. They control species that are below them, eliminating easy prey and creating new ones. Even though sharks produce little young and they take up to 25 years to reach sexual maturity, they have managed to survive through 5 major extinctions that wiped most life from the planet, they are the architects of this planet. Shark finning is a huge problem that will effect the health of our ocean ecosystems, sharks have a critical role to play in keeping the marine ecosystems in balance.
No more than 12 people a year are killed by sharks worldwide. In fact is more dangerous to play golf than to swim in the ocean with sharks. More golfers are struck by lightning and killed each year than the total number of shark fatalities. Many more humans are struck and killed by boats every year than are attacked by sharks. Truth is, sharks do not eat people, no one has ever been eaten by a shark. When a shark attack does occur, they make it back onto the shore.
Every year humans slaughter 100 million sharks and yet, we depict them as the viscous, blood-thirsty killers and it is estimated that within 10 years, sharks will be extinct. Resulting in drastic changes within the sea, affecting the earth as a whole.
Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins and the discard at sea of the carcass. The shark is most often still alive when it is tossed back into the water. Unable to swim, the shark slowly sinks toward the bottom where it is eaten alive by other fish. Over 8,000 tons of shark fins are processed each year. The fins only amount to 4% of a shark’s bodyweight. This means that some 200,000 tons of shark are thrown back into the sea and discarded. Already 18 species of sharks have been listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Why are all these sharks being slaughtered? To feed the greed of the human race.
The shark fin is used as a main ingredient in a shark fin soup, which is a Chinese delicacy. The actual shark fin is tasteless, which is why the fin is boiled in a chicken broth to absorb taste. The shark fin soup used to be only consumed by the rich. However, now that the Chinese economy is strong and more people come to wealth, the demand for shark fins has increased. At the same time the shark population has dramatically decreased due to shark finning.
When future generations look back and discuss what the people of today were like, they will think of us as barbarians. Robbing the world of it’s natural resources and treating its animals inhumanely.