Shark Finning

This cause is extremely personal for me.

In early 2007, my wife, Jackie, and I went to see the independent film "Sharkwater." Only two weeks later we had booked a scuba diving trip to the Galapagos Islands that would change our lives forever. Having returned from this trip in August of 2009, my passion for protecting and photographing sharks has multiplied.

Question: What is Shark Finning?

Check out this video aired on CBS Las Vegas on November 16, 2009 to get an overview (Please click on the image to be directed to video):



Answer: Shark Finning is the removal of shark fins while a caught shark is still alive and the discarding of the finless body back into the ocean where the shark, unable to swim, sinks to the bottom of the ocean and dies. ANY shark is taken-regardless of age, size, or species. Every year over 40 million sharks are slaughtered for their fins. Some groups project this number to be much larger...100 million+

Question: Why do people do this?

Watch this video by Oceana:



Answer: There is a high premium on shark fins and shark meat isn't as much in demand. One pound of dried shark fin can retail for $300 or more.

Shark fins are a billion dollar industry. They are used primarily for a dish called "Shark Fin Soup." This dish is a Chinese delicacy and a symbol of affluence. The fins are dried, stacked, and buyers extract the collagen fibers, clean them, and process them into shark fin soup. This soup has no flavor and absolutely no nutritional value. It is a dish served only for prestige purposes.

The demand from China is for staggering amounts of shark fins. As a result, the oceans are literally being scoured clean of sharks. Poachers are invading national marine parks like the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador and Cocos Island in Costa Rica to catch sharks.

Question: So what? Why should I care about the killing of sharks?

Here's a trailer for the movie, "Shark Water":



Answer:
Law enforcement exists for most states and nations of the world but no law enforcement exists to govern the oceans. Even though finning is banned in many of the areas where it is taking place presently, there is no law enforcement available to ensure that these laws are adhered to.

Where fish are fished from the ocean for food, fishermen are typically bound to strict limits on what species they can catch and what size and age the catch must be in order to be an allowable catch. This is a responsible and humane measure. Sharks, however, are hunted for their fins regardless of species, size, and age. This means that even both baby sharks and the beautiful whale sharks are killed indiscriminately for their fins.

Finning is vigorously opposed by animal welfare groups; both on moral grounds and also because it is listed as one of the causes for the rapid decline of global shark populations.

Experts estimate that within a decade, most species of sharks will be lost.

The massive quantity of sharks harvested and lack of selection deplete shark populations faster than their reproductive abilities can replenish populations threatening the stability of marine ecosystems. As a result, there are now 39 species of elasmobranches (sharks and rays) listed as threatened species (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable) on the IUCN red list.

Imagine an ocean without sharks! I can't...



If this information has had a meaningful impact on you and has you wondering what you can do to contribute to the fight to protect sharks, please thoughtfully consider the options available to you on the subsequent pages listed on the left margin.

PLEASE HELP ME DO SOMETHING!