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":
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...
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