Why would anyone ever kill a shark for its fins?
Then cut it off and let it drop to the bottom for a slow and painful death?!
There are many different types of animals that are hunted in the vast oceans. From the larger fish to clams and oysters, everyone is familiar with different kinds of fishing.
You may not, however, have heard about the practice of killing sharks solely to harvest their fins. The following explains the practice of shark finning, why these fins are in demand, the problems with this practice, and what we can do to stop it.
Good news China is Banning Shark Finning
What Is Shark Finning?
Shark finning is the practice by which a shark’s fin is cleaved from the shark’s body usually onboard a fishing boat. As long as a clean cut can be made it doesn't matter if the shark is alive or dead. The fisherman will remove the shark fin and keep it while tossing the shark overboard.
Without this fin, the shark if not dead will simply sink to the bottom where it will die from traumas or from starvation.
Several different sharks are used in finning, including hammerhead sharks and great white sharks. The accessibility and region help to determine which ones are captured for their fins. Some countries' laws also make the practice too difficult in certain waters.
Why Shark Fins?
The process by which shark fins are removed may seem a bit barbaric, and it is. So why do these hunters risk prosecution and participate in this gruesome task? The reason is that there is great money to be made from shark fins.
Shark fins are used in soups and other perceived delicacies that sell for hundreds of dollars a plate.
This is an astronomical return on the shark fin, making it a profitable venture. The shark fins are not used for their flavors either. They are instead used to give the food its texture with other products being added for the actual flavor of the soup.
Problems With Shark Finning
There are many problems associated with the practice of shark finning. One of these is the ethical component. As mentioned before shark finning is often done while the creature is still alive and conscious. This means that the animals suffer greatly as they feel the pain caused by the knife being inserted into their skin.
Another reason that there is a problem with shark finning is that it is not legal in all areas of the world.
Anyone who participates in this activity where it is illegal to do so risks being prosecuted. Finally, shark finning kills millions of sharks each year and throws entire ecosystems out of balance due to the role these fish play in the ocean's food chain.
What To Do
Many people are looking for ways to stop this destructive industry.
One of the ways we can accomplish this is through education and awareness creation. The more people who understand the consequences of what is happening and why this is so damaging for the ecosystem and our world, the better.
Finally, but most importantly, you can participate by supporting nonprofit organizations and other activists groups that try to put an end to this brutal practice.
Stop Shark Finning is doing amazing work!
What are you doing to save the sharks? Even the smallest gesture can help!