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Shark Finning

Shark Finning
Shark Finning: The Destruction of Our Ocean’s Top Predator

What is Shark Finning?

The term shark finning refers to the removal of a shark’s fin in order to make shark fin soup. Most shark finners throw the rest of the shark’s body back into the water. Without their fins, the sharks can no longer swim. They are eaten alive after sinking to the bottom of the ocean. If not consumed by other fish, they often suffer slow and agonizing deaths. Finned sharks die of starvation or drown because they require constant mobility in order to push oxygen through their gills (Shark Education).

Why Waste the Rest of the Shark?

Fisherman toss the rest of the shark’s body because shark meat has a low economic value. Shark meat also possesses a compound called urea, which contaminates other fish upon exposure to air ("What is Shark Finning?"). Thus, fisherman toss the rest of the shark’s body in order leave room for more profitable fish meats.

Shark Finning

Shark Fin Soup: Not. Worth. It.

The demand for shark fin soup has spiked in recent years as a result of growing wealth in Far Eastern countries. A bowl of shark fin soup costs around $100 dollars! Many of the elites in these populations serve shark fin soups at their weddings in order to impress wedding guests ("What is Shark Finning?"). However, many consumers of shark fin soup lack awareness of the negative ecological impacts of finning practices. In addition, shark fin is flavorless! Shark fin soup derives its flavor from chicken stock and other spices. Restaurants massively benefit from the obliviousness of shark fin soup consumers. In the end, shark populations suffer an immense toll all so that humans can eat expensive soup. 

Image by @carapeacock

The Impact.

  • Approximately 100 million sharks die yearly as a result of finning practices
  • Over the last 15 years, shark populations have decreased by 60-90%
  • 10 people are killed by sharks yearly, but 3 sharks are killed every second by humans

The decrease in shark populations exceeds shark recovery periods… most sharks take 7-20 years to reach maturity and reproduce. Thus, entire ecosystems are at risks because sharks cannot bounce back as quickly as they are being killed (Stone). Some people advocate finning practices because they view sharks as dangerous to humans. However, sharks rarely attack humans and the majority of shark species are completely harmless. Sharks play a vital role in maintaining our oceanic ecosystems. Their destruction will cause a domino effect with other sea life, eventually rendering our oceans unstable. Furthermore, many communities that rely on shark populations for tourism will suffer economically (Stone). Thousands of people travel to places like Tiger Beach in the Bahamas to get a chance to dive with various species of sharks.

Our generation should aid in shark recovery efforts so that our children, grandchildren, and other future generations can have the chance to view these majestic creatures.

What Can You Do?

  1. Don’t eat shark fin soup! (duh)
  2. Spread awareness! Use your social media platforms. People are likely to eat shark fin soup if they’re aware of the negative impacts of finning practices.
  3. Join in campaigns led by organizations such as Wild Aid, Humane Society International, and Sea Shepherd. Look at petitions on When enough people get together and make an effort to change the world, it can happen. Remember, you are not just a number and your voice MATTERS!



Images: @carapeacock & @jsheffer

 "Shark Education." SHARKWATER Movie. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2016.

 Stone, Dan. "100 Million Sharks Killed Every Year." National Geographic. N.p., 1 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 June 2016

"What Is Shark Finning?" Stop Shark Finning. N.p., 03 July 2007. Web. 01 July 2016.

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