If you asked any diver what they most want to see when they go diving, I can guarantee that most of them would say a shark. As a diver, you understand the beauty of these creatures and the experience of seeing one in its natural habitat is something that is out of this world. However, in recent years, the increase in shark finning has led to a large decrease in the shark population. This is why organisations like the Shark Project and Wild Aid are calling out to divers to speak out about shark finning, and change the general public’s misconceptions about these majestic beings.
What is Shark Finning?
Shark finning is the practice of catching a shark purely with the aim of removing and keeping its fin and then throwing the rest of the shark’s carcass back into the ocean. The sharks are still alive when they are thrown back into the sea and, unable to swim, they slowly drop to the ocean floor where they are eaten by other fish. This is clearly extremely cruel!
The reason for fishermen purely only taking the shark’s fins is simple – and may make you even angrier. Shark’s fins make a hefty profit (1lb can make over $300 of profit), compared to shark meat which makes very little. Many people who fish shark claim that the space a shark’s body takes up on the boat is not worth its price on the market hence only the fins are taken. Shark fins are especially popular in Chinese cuisine with people paying extremely high prices for shark fin soup.
The Impact of Shark Finning
Experts believe that around 100 million sharks are killed each year for their fins. This is a huge increase and has led to a multi billion dollar industry which has killed off entire shark populations in numerous locations worldwide. Unlike most species of fish, sharks can take many years to become sexually mature and even then have very few young. With fishermen not caring about the age of the shark this is having devastating consequences. Not only is it affecting the shark populations, but it is also affecting the marine ecosystem which is further bad news for divers. Experts claim that if this isn’t stopped, most shark species will become extinct within ten years and who knows what impact this could have on the sea’s ecosystem.
What You Can Do To Stop Shark Finning
Shark finning is illegal in most countries but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t still happening. As a diver you can help to educate the general public about sharks. You can change their misconceptions and you can get them onboard with the numerous campaigns. The more people that speak out about shark finning, the more chance there is of it being stopped altogether.
There are now dozens of organisations in countries throughout the world who are doing everything they can to obliterate the shark fin industry. With your help, they can help to spread their message further and stop this horrific practice from continuing.