Recently, I saw a documentary regarding shark finning on National Geographic. The documentary is titled Sharkwater. And it's an eye-opener. Seriously. The images are disturbing and at the same time, heartbreaking. One particular footage showed some fishermen gleefully hacking up the fins of a shark and after harvesting the fins, they kicked the shark back into the water. Animal cruelty at its best.
Do you know that an estimated 200 million sharks die every year due to being hunted, caught and finning activities? An estimated 100 million sharks are killed for their fins only. That means about 250,000 sharks die a day.
Finning, my friends, is the practice of hacking off the shark's fins using hot metal blade and throwing it back into the sea, alive. Now without the fins, sharks cannot move, thus resulting in death due to starvation, been eaten alive by other fish or they will drown (if they are not in constant movement their gills cannot extract oxygen from the water).
The finning is practiced due to high demand for the fins (obviously) for the shark fin soup which has been touted as the most impressive and exotic delicacy, especially in Asia. Ironically, the fins itself do not add any flavor to the soup (the broth is usually made from chicken stock) and they certainly do not have any added nutritional value. The fins only add texture to the soup. Such barbaric and inhumane way just to fill up the tummy and to show off class. Aren't we selfish?
Sharks are mighty predators, they are at the top of the underwater food chain. That does not make sharks our enemy at all. In fact, sharks are very important for our very own survival. You see, God does not create something for no reason at all. So how are sharks important to human beings survival?
- Being at the top of the food chain, sharks play an important role in the ecosystem by maintaining the species below them in the food chain and serving as an indicator for ocean health. They help remove the weak and the sick as well as keeping the balance with competitors helping to ensure species diversity. (Source)
- As predators, they shift their prey’s spatial habitat, which alters the feeding strategy and diets of other species. Through the spatial controls and abundance, sharks indirectly maintain the seagrass and coral reef habitats. The loss of sharks has led to the decline in coral reefs, seagrass beds and the loss of commercial fisheries. (Source)
- By taking sharks out of the coral reef ecosystem, the larger predatory fish, such as groupers, increase in abundance and feed on the herbivores. With less herbivores, macroalgae expands and coral can no longer compete, shifting the ecosystem to one of algae dominance, affecting the survival of the reef system. (Source)
- Now, do you know that 70% of the oxygen in our atmosphere is produced by phytoplankton? Sharks actually prevent the the overconsumption of the plankton by other fish, thereby moderating global warming. (Source)
For so long we've been 'forced' into believing that sharks are dangerous to human. They've been portrayed as having some sort of vendetta against the human race. Movies like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea incorporate that beliefs, which eventually lead us to believe that killing sharks is okay. It is not, I assure you.
The extinction of sharks will be the beginning of the end for us. The population of sharks decreased for over 90% for the last few years. This mass killing of sharks has got to be stopped pronto or we will face ecology imbalance which will harm the earth and will eventually harm the human race.
Before I end, here are some of the pictures of the gruesome 'murder':
There is no justification in killing this magnificent creature. None at all. Let's stop this ruthless killing once and for all. Stop eating/ordering/demanding the shark fin soup. Remember, one bowl of soup is just another step to our very own extinction, not just the sharks.