Shark Fin Soup

Shark Fin Soup – What’s The Scoop?

  • So what’s the big deal about shark fin soup?
  • Does a bowl of soup really pose such a threat to the survival of sharks?

Well, yes, it does. Read on and find out why…

A bowl of shark fin soup
Shark fins for sale

Shark fin soup is a soup or broth of Chinese origin made with shark fin and flavoured with chicken or some other stock.

The fin itself has very little flavour and it is used primarily to add texture to the dish and because it is seen as a delicacy.

It is often served to guests at important events such as weddings and business banquets.

Shark fin soup is not cheap – it can easily cost upwards of $100 per bowl, this fact has helped ensure a steady supply of fins as fishermen and middlemen (sometimes associated with mafia-type gangs) slaughter sharks wherever they can find them in order to satisfy the market.

With the sudden increase in prosperity in the Far East, shark fin soup is being consumed in vast quantities, placing an unsustainable and crippling demand on shark populations.

Shark fin can be bought either frozen or dried, with the dried variety being available either shredded or as whole fins. The fins are often treated with hydrogen peroxide in order to make their color more appealing to consumers.

The soup is often claimed to have health benefits, such as increasing your appetite, improving your kidneys, lungs and bones.

However there is no evidence to support these claims and the reality is that shark meat is barely fit for human consumption.

It has a very high level of mercury and the United States Environmental protection agency advises women and young children to stay clear of it. Click here to see the levels of mercury found in shark compared to other fish.

Recently removed shark fins.
Shark fin being dried on the deck.

A survey in 2006 by Wild Aid and the Chinese Wildlife Association showed that 35% of participants had consumed shark fin soup in the previous year. This equates to an immense number of sharks being taken from the ocean.

Sharks take anything from 7 to over 20 years to reach maturity, meaning that it takes populations a long time to recover; the current demand for their fins makes it impossible for populations to return to previous levels.

Sharks are top predators – when they are removed from the ocean the entire eco-system suffers.

Sharks have been around for 400 million years. Are we going to let them die out because of ignorance about the origins of what we eat and because of human arrogance?

Would this still be going on if the soup was made with tiger paws instead of shark fins?

Act now and find out what you can do to help save sharks.

Shark fin soup: everything is wasted except the fins.
A dead shark with its fins removed – the “left-overs” from a bowl of soup.

Shark finning

What is Shark Finning?

Shark finning is the practice of slicing off the shark’s fins while the shark is still alive and throwing the rest of its body back into the ocean where it can take days to die what must be an agonising death.

Some sharks starve to death, others are slowly eaten by other fish, and some drown, because sharks need to keep moving to force water through their gills for oxygen.

Shark fins are used as the principal ingredient of shark fin soup, an Asian “delicacy”.

Demand for shark fin soup has rocketed in recent years due to the increased prosperity of China and other countries in the Far East. Shark fin soup, which can easily cost $100 a bowl, is often served at wedding celebrations so that the hosts can impress their guests with their affluence.

Because there is such a high demand for shark fins, traders can make a lot of money from shark fin, but it is the restaurant owners who really “make a killing” in this foul trade.

Fishermen are only interested in the fins because shark meat is of low economical value and takes up too much space in the hold. It also contains urea, which turns to ammonia once the shark has died and contaminates other fish.

Shark fin itself is tasteless, it just provides a gelatinous bulk for the soup which is flavoured with chicken or other stock. Many people, especially the consumers, are unaware of the sufferring that finning causes.

3 sharks are being killed every second so people
can use their fins to make shark fin soup.

What effect has finning had on shark populations?

To put it bluntly, shark populations have been decimated. Globally. Tens of millions of sharks are slaughtered every year to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup; at least 8,000 tonnes of shark fins are shipped to restaurants around the world.

Fishermen report that sharks are getting smaller because they are not being given time to mature.

Shark populations take a long time to recover as they can take over seven years to reach maturity and they only raise one or two pups a year.

Twenty species of sharks are listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). In a few years many species of shark could become extinct if action is not taken immediately.

Populations of many shark species have fallen by over 90%. Since 1972 the number of blacktip sharks has fallen by 93%, tiger sharks by 97% and bull sharks, dusky sharks and smooth hammerheads by 99%.

What will happen to the oceans of sharks become extinct?

The consequences of the decline in shark populations on ocean life are immense. The large shark species are “apex” predators, they are ecological stablisers, once they are gone, all hell will break loose.

For example along the US East Coast where large sharks such as black tip and tiger sharks have been virtually elimated, there have been declines in shellfish numbers and a reduction in water quality (shellfish filter sea water). Populations of small sharks, rays and skates have increased rapidly, consuming shellfish at an unsustainable rate.

If you remove apex predators from an ecosystem the result is the same as removing the foundations from a building – total collapse.

Protest shirt

Let’s Take Shark Fin Soup Off The Menu!

Do you live in an area where there are restaurants that serve shark fin soup? Do you wish they would take it off the menu?

Well people across the world are networking and taking steps to encourage restaurant owners to do just that.

On this page I am posting the contact details of people who are interested in coordinating and contacting with others in their local area who want to see the end of shark fin soup.

So if you would like to get in touch with other people who want to save sharks, send me your email address and location and I will post it here.

What action should you take?

Before organizing any protest, contact the restaurant owners/managers (in person if possible) and tell them about shark finning – ask them if they would be prepared to take shark fin soup off the menu.

Give them a few days to think about it and either visit them again or call back. If they decide to continue selling shark fin soup this is when you can start with the protests. All protests should be peaceful and respectful.

Contacts – email these people if you live in their area and want to get shark fin soup off the menu!

Australia

Australian Anti-Shark Finning Alliance (TAASFA) – shark@taasfa.com

Bahamas

Nassau – alymyers@gmail.com (Alyson)

Canada

Ontario (Markham) – Campaign to ban shark fins in Markham.

Toronoto – steff_henderson@hotmail.com (Stefanie)

Toronto – chuckrum@live.ca (Chuck)

Vancouver – lydia@sharktruth.com (Lydia)

Victoria, BC – anphib@gmail.com (Dave)

Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo – michaelfelixp@gmail.com (Michael)

Germany

Hessen (also available to network with people in other parts of the country) – ivo@goeckmann.com (Ivo)

Ireland

Sue – ecoprincess@eircom.net (also volunteer co-ordinator for Sea Shepherd)

John – timoneyj2@gmail.com (Wexford/Dublin/East Coast)

Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur – chermayne040993@hotmail.com (chermayne)

Netherlands

estercas@online.nl (Ester)

zoevanerdelen@gmail.com (Dominique)

South Africa:

Pat Dickens (all of South Africa) – southafrica@seashepherd.org

Umkomaas Aliwal Shoal, Scottburgh – andrew@divingwithsharks.co.za (Andrew)

Johannesburg – indigo_998@hotmail.com (Sarah)

South Korea

foodcrime@rocketmail.com (Keith)

Taiwan

divingintaiwan@yahoo.com.tw (Andy)

United States:

Los Angeles, California – captainkevin@roadrunner.com (Kevin)

Sacramento, California – anemia_boy@yahoo.com (Ryan)

San Diego, California – will@wnoble.com (Will)

San Francisco, California – photobruce@comcast.net (Bruce)

San Francisco (Bay Area), California – tudorcom@comcast.net (Jim)

Santa Barbara, California – sharkfreesb@gmail.com (Jonathan)

Boca Raton – Florida – alymyers@gmail.com (Alyson)

Tampa, Florida – blueeyejon@aol.com (John)

Pensacola, Florida – agarner304@gmail.com (Amanda)

West Palm Beach, Florida – mako84@live.com (Melody)

Atlanta, Georgia – wwashowi@windstream.net (Todd)

Illinois – giannaburdick@sbcglobal.net (Gianna)

Fall River, Massachusetts – demonlvr144@yahoo.com (Danielle)

Wellesley, Massachusetts – Ingo.Stubbe@va.gov (Ingo)

Detroit, Michigan – tglotshark@yahoo.com (Tiffany)

St. Louis, Missouri – sharkfreesaintlouis@gmail.com (Theresa)

New Jersey – sugarsugarkitty@aol.com (Jessica)

New York – lorifergie@aol.com (Lori)

Seattle, Washington – StopSharkFinningSeattle@gmail.com (Jen)

Dallas, Texas – anna@earthpeopleco.com (Anna)

UK – England

Bristol – soph.lomax@hotmail.com (Sophie)

London – wearelostinhongkong@yahoo.co.uk (Dave)

London – jonnymuir@gmail.com (Jonny)

London – rorohudson1@googlemail.com (Roro)

London – chinchanchow@hotmail.co.uk (Andrew)

North East – sharkfincoup@hotmail.co.uk (Chris).

Southwest England (also west Wales)- angharad.ruston@hotmail.co.uk (Angharad)

Weston Super Mare – soph.lomax@hotmail.com (Sophie)

UK – Scotland

Edinburgh & Glasgow – hew_morrison@yahoo.co.uk (Hew)

Edinburgh – ros.thomson@blueyonder.co.uk (Ross)

Inverness – chinchanchow@hotmail.co.uk (Andrew)

Some suggestions.

Some owners will be more easily persuaded than others. Those that aren’t convinced by the moral and environmental arguments will need to be convinced purely from an economic point of view.

This is not easy – but there are two things that may help them change their minds. The first is protests outside their restaurant, which should consist of talking to potential customers and/or handing out leaflets.

The second is that their restaurant will be listed on a website showing “good” and “bad” restaurants, ie those that serve or don’t serve shark fin soup.

This works best on a local level, so you would need to set up a website to do it (although I can list the good/bad restaurants here if you don’t have the time or resources to set up your own site).

For a very good example of the kind of website I mean check out Shark Free Santa Barbara. It is a big motivator for owners to know that they are going to be getting publicity – but it will either be good or bad publicity, depending on them.

On previous protests, owners have occassionally asked for money from activists to print new menus (with shark fin soup removed). Whether or not you agree to do this is entirely up to you.

Most activists will not be inclined to do this for various reasons. You may point out that the cost of printing new menus will be offset by the extra customers they will (hopefully) get from not serving shark fin soup – this ties in with being listed on a website under the “good” category.

Maybe the owner and the activists could contact a local newspaper and get an article written about the restaurant and the fact that they have made an environmentally responsible decision and taken shark fin soup off the menu. Free publicity for the restaurant and the cause!

Another suggestion has been that they could put stickers over the shark fin soup item in the menu saying something like “This item removed to help preserve our ocean environment”.

Please let me know if you have any more suggestions, and good luck.

extinct sharks

These Sharks Have Gone Extinct

There are many different species of sharks, both alive today and in the fossil record. However, it’s not all good news when it comes to these creatures. Just like other animals, some species have become extinct over time, including several types of sharks that are no longer with us. Continue reading to learn more about four specific shark species that have gone extinct as well as the reasons behind their demise.

Megalodon

Megalodon is probably one of the best known extinct sharks, and for good reason. This shark reached lengths of over 50 feet (15 meters), making it much larger than most other species on this list. What truly made megalodon stand out was its upper jaw, which stretched 6 feet (1.8 meters) across and contained around 276 teeth at any given time. The shark was likely an active predator that evolved to exploit the huge amount of resources available in its habitat, which included the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Scientists believe megalodon became extinct about 2.6 million years ago due to a lack of large prey and competition from other predators such as killer whales and great white sharks, both of which exist today.

Cladoselache

Cladoselache is a predecessor to modern sharks that lived in the Devonian Period about 360 million years ago. Since very little was known about the creature until recently, we only have fossil evidence to rely on for information regarding its existence. However, scientists have been able to learn a great deal by studying the only existing specimen, which was found in Ohio in 1928. Cladoselache grew up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long and had gills for breathing as well as functional lungs, making it one of the first creatures on Earth to have adapted these features. This extra set of lungs may have played a role in its predatory behavior, which included swimming up to the water’s surface and gulping air before diving down again. Cladoselache was likely an ambush predator that preyed on fish and invertebrates such as cephalopods. Unfortunately, this ancient shark went extinct around 298 million years ago due to a lack of food resources and competition from other fish species.

Stethacanthus

Stethacanthus was another early shark that lived during the Devonian Period about 380 million years ago. This small shark only grew up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) long and had a unique feature in the form of a spine that protruded from its back. Scientists have long debated the function of this spine, with some proposing that it was used for defense while others believe it served a sensory function. What is known for sure is that this shark was an active predator that fed on fish and other small sea creatures. Unfortunately, this species went extinct about 360 million years ago due to a lack of food resources and the inability to adapt when competition from other sharks began to pick up. Similar in size and appearance, Stethacanthus may have been preyed upon by larger predators such as Dunkleosteus.

Xenacanthus

Xenacanthus was another early shark that lived during the Devonian Period, about 370 million years ago. This species is an ancestor of modern sharks and had a spindle-shaped body that grew up to 7 feet (2 meters) long. It also possessed saw-like teeth on its lower jaw as well as fang-like teeth on its upper jaw. Scientists believe xenacanthus used these sharp teeth to catch fish but may have had trouble swallowing them, forcing it to spit its meal back up. This creature had an elongated dorsal fin that ran the length of its body and probably served a stabilizing function during swimming. Xenacanthus went extinct around 370 million years ago due to a lack of food resources and the inability to adapt when competition from other sharks began to pick up.

In Conclusion

While they may not be as well-known as megalodon, each of these sharks played an important role in the development of the modern shark species we know today. Each of them went extinct for different reasons, but all offer a fascinating glimpse into the ancient world of sharks. Sharks have been around for millions of years and have evolved to become one of the most successful predators on Earth. However, not all sharks have been lucky enough to survive the test of time.

swimming with sharks

Places You Can Swim With Sharks

Do you dream about a vacation that will allow you to do something truly exciting and memorable? If so, swimming with sharks could be the perfect activity for you! Many tourism organizations have recognized the value of offering these experiences and their popularity is growing by leaps and bounds.

Swimming with sharks can be a safe and exhilarating experience, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before booking your trip.

Safety

The most important thing to remember is that shark interactions should always be viewed as an adventure. Sharks can be unpredictable and it is important to respect their power. That means never swimming alone, staying close to your guide, and following all instructions closely.

Choosing A Guide Company

It is also important to do your research and choose a reputable operator. Make sure the company has a good safety record and that their guides are experienced and knowledgeable.

Finally, budget is always a consideration when planning a vacation. Shark swim experiences can be expensive, but there are some great options available if you shop around.

Places To Swim With Shark

There are many places around the world where you can experience a shark interaction. Here are just a few:

AustraliaAustralia has several great options, including swimming with whale sharks off Ningaloo Reef and going into a shark cage in South Australia.

BahamasBahamas claims a number of successful swims with tiger sharks at Tiger Beach, as well as interactions with lemon and nurse sharks.

Bonaire – This Dutch Caribbean island is one of the best places in the world for swimming with sharks, including blacktip, nurse, and lemon sharks.

California – Cage diving with great white sharks is a popular tourist attraction in California.

Fiji – The clear water and abundance of sharks makes Fiji an ideal location for a shark dive.

Galapagos – Swimming with hammerhead sharks is one of the most popular activities in the Galapagos Islands, and this is also one of Mother Nature’s best places to see these incredible creatures.

Gansbaai – Gansbaai in South Africa is where you can swim with the biggest fish in the ocean – the great white shark.

Hawaii – Hawaii has several opportunities for swimming with sharks, including encounters with hammerheads, tiger sharks, and reef sharks.

Mexico – Cage diving with bull sharks is popular in Mexico, and you can also swim with whale sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres.

New Zealand – One of the most popular shark swimming destinations is Stewart Island in New Zealand where you can dive with great whites, tigers, and more.

South Africa – Along with Gansbaai, South Africa is a prime location for diving with great white sharks.

Tanzania – The crystal clear waters off Pemba Island are home to manta rays and whale sharks, which you can swim with safely.

Swimming With Sharks – Conclusion

So, are you ready to swim with sharks? There are many great tour companies that can help you plan your adventure and give you a thrilling experience that will last a lifetime. Whether you opt for cage diving, snorkeling, or sliding on the surface next to the sharks, it is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Just remember to always use caution and respect the power of these amazing creatures.

largest shark

Biggest Shark Species

Sharks are fierce, mysterious underwater predators that come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most well-known species include the great white, tiger shark, blue shark, mako shark, goblin shark… wait – what was that last one?

Goblin Shark

That’s right; there is apparently a monster lurking out at sea called the goblin shark with jaws that could swallow you in one gulp. It may be scary, but it’s time to get familiarized because goblin sharks are massive – the biggest shark species in the world, in fact.

Great White Shark

The great white is usually considered to be the largest shark species, but it’s actually a bit of a lightweight in comparison to the goblin shark. The average great white is about 15 feet long and weighs 1,500 pounds, while the average goblin shark is 18 feet long and weighs 2,500 pounds! That’s one big fish!

Tiger Shark

The tiger shark is a close second to the goblin shark in terms of size. It typically grows to be about 16 feet long and weigh 1,500 pounds, but there have been cases of tigers sharks reaching up to 20 feet in length.

Blue Shark

Blue sharks are the most common large shark species and they can grow up to 12 feet long and weigh 400 pounds.

Mako Shark

Mako sharks are the fastest of all shark species, reaching speeds up to 45 mph. They typically grow to be about 10 feet long and weigh 300 pounds.

Bull Shark

The bull shark is one of the most aggressive shark species and it can thrive in both saltwater and freshwater. They typically grow to be about 11 feet long and weigh 500 pounds.

Nurse Shark

The nurse shark is a bottom-feeder that lives in both tropical and temperate waters. They typically grow to be about 10 feet long and weigh 400 pounds.

Sawfish

The sawfish is a bizarre looking shark that can reach up to 19 feet long and weigh close to 1,000 pounds.

Hammerhead Shark

The hammerhead shark is usually about 8.2 feet long and weighs 400 pounds, but evidence suggests that they can grow up to 12 feet in length!

Great Hammerhead Shark

The great hammerhead is the largest species of hammerhead shark, averaging 18 feet in length and weighing 1,000 pounds.

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

The scalloped hammerhead is the most common type of hammerhead shark and they typically grow to be about 12 feet long and weigh 400 pounds.

Whale Shark

The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, measuring an average of 40 feet in length and weighing upwards of 20,000 pounds!

Basking Shark

The basking shark is typically about 33 feet long and weighs 4,000 pounds. This slow-moving giant can be found in both temperate and tropical waters around the world.

Megamouth Shark

The megamouth shark is a rare creature with a distinctive “bulldog” face. They typically grow to be 11 feet long and weigh 1,100 pounds.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it: the biggest shark species in the world. I hope you know a little bit more about these hungry hunters and stay a safe distance away if you ever happen to dive into their habitat!

This Sex App Quiz Is Raising Money To Stop Shark Finning

From one of the most unlikely sources, we’d like to thank SexApp.vip for their support! This site hosts a quiz for helping people find sex near me with the best sex app for their own preferences, but the company behind it has set up a fundraiser for wildlife preservation. The site connects users with hookup sites and apps, and is donating 50% of their profits to charity.

We’re excited to be partnering with them on this project, and we’re very grateful for their support!

About The Fundraiser

In addition to running the SexApp.vip quiz, the company behind the quiz has set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe in order to raise money to protect marine wildlife.

The fundraiser has raised more than $100,000 in pledges for the charity, Earth Guardians. The funds will be used to support the group’s efforts to end the practice of shark finning and to create a world-leading education platform for the conservation of our oceans.

Earth Guardians is a global organization that educates people about the problems facing the ocean and the animals in it. They work to improve fishing techniques, reduce waste and encourage sustainable fishing.

“We’re very pleased that SexApp.vip has chosen to help Earth Guardians support their mission to educate and empower people worldwide to conserve ocean wildlife,” said Earth Guardians Co-Founder and President of U.S. Programs Jennifer Blodgett. “SexApp.vip is committed to making a real difference in the lives of people in and around the world, and our organization is honored to have the opportunity to work with them on this important cause.”

Try The Sex App Quiz!

We’re curious to know how the quiz worked for you. If you’re trying to find a sex app, do you usually just search for the best one, or do you find yourself bouncing around a bit, checking out a few different options?

If you’re still trying to decide what app works best for you, you might find this quiz useful.

The quiz is just a few questions, so it’s only 5 minutes or so. It also includes a list of which apps you’ve used and which apps you’ve been interested in.

In the end, it will tell you what app is the most sex-positive for you and how it can help you get the most out of your experience.

So if you’re curious, what do you think? Do you think it’s going to work well? Do you have some favorite apps you’ve tried? What else do you think we could include? Let us know in the comments!

Shark swimming ocean

Questions and Facts About Sharks to Ask Over Text or in a Conversation

The following are some really cool facts and questions about shark that’ll light up a gathering of sharks enthusiast or lovers.

If you’d like to get more questions to ask your friends in a gathering, this article from Sociotelligence will be of help.

That said, let’s get right into it…

  1. How many species of shark do you know?
  2. Did you know that the whale Shark is one of the largest animal in the sea?
  3. Did you know that the heart of a whale shark is as large as a car?
  4. So you also know that a baby can crawl inside the blood veins of a whale shark?
  5. Did you know that White Shark weighs seven tons?
  6. Are you aware that a whole shark length is up to 100 feet?
  7. Did you know that the largest sea animal is a hump back shack?
  8. Did you know that the most aggressive of all sharks is the white shark?
  9. Also Did you know that the White Shark is the fastest animal in the sea?
  10. Did you know that white shark reaches a maximum speed of a hundred kilometers?
  11. Did you also know that sharks communicate with ultra sound in a audible to human ears just like elephants do?
  12. Did you know that sharks are the most intelligent creatures in the sea?
  13. Are you aware that harks are group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the side of head, and also pectoral fins that not fused to the head?
  14. Did you know that sharks has no time for playing?
  15. Did you know that sharks are also unromantic, and always hungry, ravenous and can be almost motionless in the sea?
  16. Did you know that the Shark is like a blunt trope do?
  17. Did also know that sharks have a sharp pointed conical gout, large pectoral and Dorsal fins?
  18. Also are you ware that Sharks has a strong crescent shaped tail?
  19. And did you know that it is only the belly of the white shark that is blue?
  20. Did you know that Sharks Did not have bones?
  21. Did you also know that Sharks have a good eyesight?
  22. Are you aware that sharks have special electro receptive organs?
  23. Did you know that sharks skin feel link if it is a sand paper?
  24. Did you know that a shark can go into a trance?
  25. Did you know that most Sharks have to keep swimming to pump water of their gills?
  26. Did you know that not all sharks have the same teeth?
  27. Did you know that some shark specie lay eggs while others born their babies?
  28. Did you know that sharks keep their population of prey in check?
  29. Did you know about a shark specie called the Greenland Shark?
  30. Are you aware that Greenland shark can only be found in a cold seep sea?
  31. Did you know that it feeds on big fishes, even swimming reindeer and also  scavenge whale carcasses?
  32. Did you know that shark attack in groups?
  33. Did you know that the great white shark is curious to see humans in the sea?
  34. Are you also aware that its attack on humans are often toward them off from its territory as they Didn’t actually feed on humans, hence they bite and leave the victims for dead?
  35. Did you know also know that humans are in the menu of the great white shark?
  36. Did you know that the great white shark can even leave the water completely, breathing like whales when attacking prey from underneath?
  37. Did you know that white shark has 300 separated triangular teeth arranged in several rows?
  38. Did you know that shark embryos attack each other?
  39. Did you know that sharks have a sixth sense? E.g., Sharks can detect a prey by tapping into the small electrical fields that other animals generate using tiny organs called the ampullae?
  40. How does harmer head sharks detect a prey hidden in the sand?
  41. Also Did you know that hammer head Sharks have 300-degree vision?
  42. Did you know that female Sharks are extremely larger than males Sharks?
  43. Did you know that some Sharks live in rivers, such bull  shark?
  44. Did you know that too that comes are pregnant for 2 years?
  45. Did you know that a white shark bite more powerful than that of all jungle cats such as lion or Jaguar?
  46. Did you know that the Blue Shark bit is more stronger than that of the great white shark?
Sharks fin soup

The Truth About Shark Fin Soup

People who are involved in the shark fin trade or who enjoy eating shark fin soup often argue that shark fins should not be banned.

The usual arguments offered in favour of consuming shark fin soup are itemised below, along with the reasons why these arguments do not hold water.

1. Sharks are harmful to humans. We are better off without them.

Although occassionally someone does get injured or killed by a shark, the number who do is actually incredibly small. You are sixteen times more likely to be hit by lightning than to be bitten by a shark.

Although the number of human deaths caused by shark attacks is very small, these incidents are widely reported in the press due to their sensational and unusual nature.

Sharks also have an image problem, partly because of films like Jaws, but also because they don’t have the “cutesy” factor that animals like dolphins and pandas do. Also – contrary to popular belief – only a very few species of shark ever attack humans – the others are totally harmless.

The idea that we might be “better off without sharks” betrays a detachment from nature and lack of understanding of how it works. In the natural world, all elements of an ecosystem are interconnected, and depend on each other in one way or another.

Start taking away the “bricks” that hold up that ecosystem, and sooner or later it is going to collapse. This is particularly true in the case of top predators, such as most species of shark.

Top predators act as the caretakers of their environment, picking off the weak and sick of smaller species, helping to ensure strong and healthy populations and a balanced ecosystem.

2. We live on the land. Who cares what happens in the oceans?

Although we live on land, we are not detached from it. 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean. Oceans contain 99% of the Earth’s living space and a huge amount of biodiversity. Scientists believe that there are approximately 240,000 marine species.

We also rely on the oceans for much of our food. If we do not practice sustainable fishing methods and manage marine resources responsibly, we will leave an impoverished ocean for future generations.

The fact that sharks have existed for 400 million years is testament to their success as a top predator and an ocean caretaker. If sharks are doing such a great job looking after the oceans maybe we should make sure that they are able to continue doing it!

3. If you ban the trade in shark fins, it will just lead to a black market trade.

While it is possible that some black market trade in shark fins may continue, as it has with ivory, it is extremely unlikely that the scale of trade after a ban would be as high as it is now.

While large numbers of people are willing to risk punishment for the consumption of drugs, it is very doubtful that they would be willing to do this for the “pleasure” of a menu choice.

Despite people’s best efforts, there will always be those who will stop at nothing for material gain, but the response of responsible society should be to take all the measures it can to stamp out activities that are detrimental to other species and the planet.

A black market in slavery still exists in some parts of the world – does that mean it should not have been abolished?

4. Only rich people can afford shark fin soup so it’s not such a big problem.

The increase in wealth of the Chinese middle class means that ever greater numbers of Chinese can afford to eat shark fin soup.

The demand for shark fins has increased massively in line with China’s increased prosperity. Sharks take 7 to 14 years to reach maturity and stocks therefore take a long time to recover from overfishing.

And just a few bowls of shark fin soup accounts for one dead shark, so it doesn’t take much imagination to see the devastating impact that this menu choice is having on shark populations.

5. It’s hypocritical to ban shark fin soup and not other types of meat like chickens and cows.

Vegetarians and vegans would agree that no type of animal should be eaten. However the shark finning issue is different in a number of ways. Firstly, finning means that the main part of the shark is wasted, only the fins are used.

On top of this the act of finning a shark while the creature is still alive is barbaric and cruel and is a practice that would be illegal in most countries’ slaughterhouses were it to be practised on a farm animal (for example if a lamb’s legs were cut off and it were left to bleed to death in a crate).

Another big difference is that sharks are not farmed animals, they are part of the marine ecosystem, and so many of them are being killed that their very existence as a species is being brought into doubt.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 143 shark species (where there is sufficient data to determine conservation status) are at high risk of extinction either now or in the near future. That’s over 55% of shark species.

6. Shark fin soup is a part of Chinese culture and shouldn’t be interfered with.

It is true that shark fin soup dates back to China’s Ming dynasty. However it was traditionally only consumed by a very exclusive and wealthy minority.

To say that it forms a part of traditional culture for the majority of Chinese is disingenuous, as most Chinese were not in a financial position to ever consume this dish. It is only in the last few decades that consumption has risen rapidly.

For example, according to Wild Aid “The number of consumers who can afford, or have access to shark fin, has risen from a few million in the ’80s to more than 300 million today.”

It is also ironic that those who supposedly have a cultural interest in shark fin soup often display no concern for the conservation status of sharks, which after all would need to be maintained at sustainable levels in order to continue the supply of shark fins for the dish.

What’s more the shark fins used in shark fin soup come from all over the world, which means this is not just a Chinese or Asian issue.

As well as threatening the survival of sharks in all the world’s oceans, the irresponsible consumption of shark fin soup threatens other businesses such as dive centres which require a sustainable approach to marine life.

7. Banning shark fins is bad for business.

We would rather that restaurants offered alternatives to shark fin soup on their menus. There are plenty of other things to eat.

A business that is founded on an unsustainably sourced resource is doomed to fail sooner or later.

Businesses which are concerned that a shark fin ban may affect their income should start to look for alternative revenue sources before a ban comes into place.

8. Why don’t you ban fishing for the whole shark?

For many species a ban on continued shark fishing would be beneficial in order to allow species to recover from years of irresponsible overfishing.

However a ban on the trade in shark fins would be effective in reducing supply and demand, as the main reason for recent falls in shark populations is the demand for shark fins.

9. Why are you picking on the Chinese culture when shark cartilage is also used in health food capsules?

Shark cartilage is used in shark cartilage capsules. Claims have been made that shark cartilage helps support joint mobility and repair, however none of these claims have been substantiated.

What’s more there are alternatives available which do not contain shark cartilage. Many ocean activists are also against the use of shark fins in capsules and so-called health treatments.

10. Shark fin soup is good for you.

Some people have claimed that shark fin soup has health benefits. These claims are unfounded – in fact shark has a very high level of mercury and the United States Environmental protection agency advises women and young children to avoid it.

What’s more, shark fins are often treated with hydrogen peroxide in order to make their color more appealing to consumers. Not really the type of thing you should be eating if you are concerned about your health.

long line

What are Long Lines?

Long lines are made of monofilament and are used mainly to catch tuna, swordfish and shark. Their length ranges from a mile to over 100 miles and is kept near the surface using floats made of styrofoam.

At intervals of a hundred feet or so (30 meters) secondary lines are attached and baited with whatever is at hand – fish, squid or even dolphin meat.

Long lines are a huge threat to the survival of many species of shark. The vast majority of sharks caught by this method are killed only for their fins; the rest of their body is discarded as “bycatch” and thrown back into the sea.

The practice of long lining is inextricably linked to finning. Long lining has been banned in a few specific areas such as the US Pacific coast because of its huge impact on ocean life, however in the vast majority of areas it is still legal and practiced routinely.

Long lines have been accurately described as a “curtain of death” that catches any living creature unfortunate enough to bite a baited hook.

They are indiscriminate – they catch not only the “target” (for example tuna or swordfish), but endangered sharks, leatherback and loggerhead turtles (legally protected), and seabirds, especially albatross.

Over 25% of long-line catch is thrown back into the sea, usually dead.

Long lining must be banned internationally. It is killing protected species of animals and is putting many other species in danger of extinction.

It is the main culprit in the decimation of shark populations by over 90% and must be outlawed immediately if we are not to face the collapse of fish populations and the ocean ecology.