Sharks are the apex predator in oceans around the world. For many species of shark including tiger sharks, blue sharks, and mako sharks, they only have one predator - humans. Unfortunately, shark populations are struggling to survive because of the stress humans place on them. With their slow rate of reproduction, small litters, and how susceptible they are to changing ocean conditions— many shark species are struggling to survive.
Shark populations are also declining due to bad fishing practices, so many countries have begun to place bans into effect to help defend them. In some places, such as Congo-Brazzaville, all shark fishing is banned. In other places like Gambia, South Africa, and Sierra Leone, shark finning is illegal. Shark finning is the horrific practice of catching a shark to take just its fins.
When fishermen and poachers catch sharks for their fins, they are not kind. The shark’s fins are cut off while they are still alive. Then, the living animal is thrown overboard and back into the ocean. Without their fins, the shark can not swim and from significant blood loss. Sharks need to swim to breathe, the process of swimming allows them to pump oxygen-rich water through their gills and respiratory system. Unfortunately, that means that these animals die on the ocean floor from either suffocation or blood loss.
During the finning process, their bodies are thrown back overboard because the meat of the shark itself is not financially worth a lot compared to the price of the fins. By not keeping the whole shark, shark finners can catch and collect more fins before returning to port, earning them more money.
Shark Fin soup is a popular dish in Chinese culture. Traditionally, the dish was served by Chinese Emperors. When it was first developed in ancient China, it was viewed as a luxury dish and was often served as a way to impress guests during celebrations such as weddings, banquets, and critical business deals. The dish was a way to communicate power, wealth, and prestige while showing respect, honor, and appreciation to the guests.
In Chinese culture, shark fin is believed to enhance skin quality, increase energy, improve low cholesterol, and prevent heart disease. However, recent studies have shown that eating shark increases your chance of getting certain conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and heavy metal poisoning.
Shark Finning is a brutal process that needs to be stopped, not just for the cruelty that is placed upon the animals, but for the survival of shark species. DNA tests have been done on shark fins for sale and it has been found that some fins commonly traded have come from threatened and highly endangered species, such as thresher sharks or hammerhead sharks. If something isn’t done soon, we could lose these magnificent animals once and for all.
If you’ve never had the spectacular opportunity to see a shark in person, SeaQuest is a great place to meet one. If you’re looking to learn more about sharks, the Blacktip Reef Shark is a magnificent place to start.
Make sure to book your tickets for family fun at SeaQuest today!