During my 30 Days of Devotion series I briefly mentioned shark finning, or finning, as an issue that Poseidon feels strongly about. I wanted to make sure that I came back and did a full post to bring more awareness to the subject.
Shark finning is the process by which fisheries illegally remove the fins of a captured shark before discarding the animal sea. In some cases the discarded animal is dead but, more often than not, it is still alive.
These fins are dried and used in the coveted dish shark fin soup. This dish can go for as much as $100 per bowl in restaurants across the world and is commonly served at weddings and banquets.
At one time, sharks caught as by catch in the tuna and swordfish industries were removed from nets and released back into the ocean. Now, though, dried shark fins are the most expensive seafood by weight. This increase in value has urged fisheries to illegally continue this inhumane, wasteful, and unsustainable practice.
Sharks are notoriously difficult to study. Many species do not school and remain solitary, only gathering to breed, and produce few offspring. With no regulations and all sharks being targets, sharks in general are at extreme risk of over fishing.
Campaigns from various organizations are striving to put a ban on shark products, especially shark fin soup, until a time that regulations for sustainable shark fishing can be achieved. To do this, fisheries must be required to provide accurate data on sharks caught whether intentionally or as a bycatch. Additionally, a good understanding of target sharks’ biology is needed along with their accurate population numbers.
The most immediate way to help is, of course to donate to these campaigns. But our voices can sometimes be all the help needed. Here is an excellent resource on how to approach restaurants that serve shark fin soup. And this is a list of restaurants in the USA currently serving shark fin soup. This website for the Animal Welfare Institute provides contact information for all of the listed restaurants.
Below are links to various websites with more information on shark finning, how you can help, and their appropriate donation links. Please be advised that some of these website have graphic images of animal cruelty. Also let it be known that some of these websites are more current than others.