Stop Shark Finning!
is the act in which a fisherman cuts off the fins of a shark and throws the still living shark back to sea to die a cruel and painful death. Fins make up less than 3-5 percent of a sharks’ total mass, the other 95 percent is either thrown back in the ocean or used as a cheap by-product. Only small strands of cartilage from the fin are used, the rest discarded as trash. These cartilage strands are boiled and used as a flavorless thickener, like thin noodles, in a watery soup flavored by chicken stock. Shark Fin Soup.
Since sharks are the top predators of the oceans, when this species is taken out of the food chain, the ocean ecology is thrown off balance creating large-scale detrimental effects to the ecosystem. Additionally, sharks are being fished at unsustainable rates – estimates as high as 25-75 million being killed each year – which currently threatens to cause the extinction of up to 38 different species within a few years.
Throughout Asia – and specifically in China – shark fin soup is recognized as a culturally established sign of status, pride and prestige; it is commonly served at wedding banquets, business meetings and upscale restaurants. To this date, only 5% of wedding banquets choose a shark-free option. Sales for shark fins continue to dangerously escalate over recent years, mainly due to lucrative profiteering – with shark fins coming in about $700/ kg. The hammer head shark seems to be the most valuable: about $10k for one fin.
To date, the industry is valued at US$1.2 billion – and because of the lucrative profits, there are allegations of links to organized crime. With this kind of economic pressure to reward shark finning, and the high rate of overfishing, it is extremely important that a strong, yet tastefully crafted campaign of awareness be created to help abolish this wasteful practice.
Through continued awareness, we can change consumer habits, and direct communities towards lifestyle choices that stop threatening wildlife and waterways. Ocean Lifeline’s mission is to create powerful imagery that will directly inspire individuals and communities to learn more about these important issues. Community involvement is fundamental in passing legislation to protect sharks and make shark finning illegal.
Even in a short period of time, the transformation can be significant. Even in a short period of time, the transformation can be significant. The more people that consciously choose to become part of the solution, the more global the impact will be.