Sharks – the apex predators of the ocean are fighting a losing battle against the apex predator of planet earth – humans! All because of a little bowl of soup, shark’s fin soup to be precise.
This image displays the act of shark finning, the practise of shark fishing where they haul the shark onboard, remove the fins and toss the shark back into the water, often still alive. Unable to swim effectively, they sink to the bottom of the ocean and die of suffocation or are eaten by other predators. Shark finning at sea enables fishing vessels to increase profitability and increase the number of sharks harvested, as they only have to store and transport the fins, by far the most profitable part of the shark.Many countries have banned this practise but without the necessary enforcement and the high demand for the fins it continues to happen. The shark fin trade is amongst the most expensive seafood products, retailing at US$ 400 per kg.
Sharks are being killed in such huge numbers they estimate 80% of some shark species populations have disappeared in the last 50 years, this rate is clearly unsustainable and we will most certainly see some species go extinct if nothing is done to stop it. They grow slowly, reach sexual maturity at a late age and reproduce in low rates leaving them especially vulnerable to overfishing methods such as shark finning. If sharks, the apex predators of the ocean, are completely removed from the food chain it will have detrimental effects on the coral reefs and the oceans.
What can be done? Stop eating shark fin soup, support shark charities and organisations trying to prevent shark fishing and go swim with some sharks – prove they are not the man-eating machines they are always portrayed to be in the movies.