Stop shark sacrilege

I like sharks. I think they’re interesting, varied, nice looking and misunderstood.  But for people all over the world they are apparently delicious. I am no vegetarian, I love eating all of God’s creatures, tender medium rare steak, roast chicken, crispy duck..they are all wonderful, but I eat them knowing they are not half killed and put back into the wild. This is cruel and unnecessary.

Shark fins are used mainly for shark fin soup, predominantly in Chinese cuisine, but the trend is now seen on Asian menus all over the world. The soup is served at weddings and celebrations and is seen as a delicacy, and a sign of wealth and prestige.  Due to the booming middle-class in China the soup is becoming more sought after and also more commonplace. The fins are skinned and trimmed and then dried and sold like this or frozen. They have little to no flavour and are chewy in texture. Despite the fact they don’t sound very palatable, the delicacy has decreased in price with its growing popularity. Although you can still buy a bowl for over $100, buffets also serve it (and its variants) for just $10!

Courtesy of CNN: When sharks attack humans, it inevitably makes news – it is a sexy story. What is rarely reported is that worldwide, sharks kill an average of 10 people every year. It’s usually when people venture into a shark’s habitat and not the other way around. By contrast, humans kill around 100 million sharks every year – a number that has ballooned in recent years because of the enormous demand for shark fins to make shark fin soup.

The huge threat to the species has spawned countless environmental and animal rights campaigns. The WWF has an awareness campaign that aims to stop this (as yet) legal practice. ‘Shark Savers’ is an organisation that seeks to solve this problem by eliminating the market for shark fin soup. Their ‘Say “No” to shark fin soup’ campaign aims to reduce this demand by creating and continuing a revolutionary multi-media campaign, using celebrities and grass roots campaigns.

Follow this link to pledge your support to the Say NO to shark fin soup campaign.

Fins from up to 70 million sharks a year are used for shark fin soup often with the rest of the body dumped overboard dead or alive. Shark poaching is rife in marine protected areas, such as the Galapagos Islands and Cocos Island. A recent study by the world’s top shark scientists (IUCN Shark Specialist Group) reported that of 64 species of open ocean sharks and rays 32% are “threatened with extinction,” primarily due to overfishing. In addition, 24% were “near threatened,” while another 25% could not be assessed due to lack of data. Sharks are highly vulnerable to overfishing due to their late maturity and slow reproduction. Globally shark catches are unregulated or unsustainable. The shark fin trade is unregulated worldwide. (Shark savers website)

Clearly, something needs to be done. The damage to the marine ecosystem and the possible impact on global warming as a top predator is pushed to extinction is huge. If there are no sharks, the fish which eat plankton will balloon and the plankton will be hugely reduced. Like all plants, phytoplankton produce oxygen by reducing carbon dioxide from the air. Moves are being made to ban this practice, such as the bill passed in USA in 1993 that bans shark finning within 200 miles of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Educate yourselves on this wasteful and cruel practice, and make up your own mind.