Hey, you! Thanks for stopping by. I am really happy you’ve made it here to learn about this important topic, why it effects you and how you can help. There’s a lot to dive into but I will keep this to a few key points.
Shark finning is the practice of cutting a live sharks fins off and throwing it back into the ocean where the shark will sink and drown on the ocean floor. The biggest reason this occurs is for shark fin soup, also known as Imitation soup. For this alone, they are killed in the millions each year. Aside from this being a horribly inhumane practice, there are a few reasons why this matters to the health of the planet and your health as an individual.
Sharks are incredibly vital to the health of the ecosystem, thus the health of the planet. The ocean makes up about 70% of the air we breath. So if the core role of sharks is to maintain balance in the ocean by picking off the dead, dying, sick and weak- what will happen when they are gone? What will happen to the ocean? What will happen to us? We will see a much dirtier and empty ocean incapable of producing clean oxygen. Phytoplankton create oxygen through photosynthesis, and exist in marine food webs where the mere presence of sharks help to maintain balance. Without sharks, phytoplankton populations will crash and we won’t have anymore oxygen and we will die. This is a global issue. The fishing, importing and exporting of sharks and shark fins is a global issue.
The health of the ocean is already personal, right? But let’s draw this in a little closer to home. Did you know that a large portion of beauty products, face creams, lotions, pet food, cleansers and other products contain shark derived ingredients? Did you know that some of the fish you eat at restaurants is actually shark meat? Check out this blog post on products that contain shark and a list of incognito names that actually are shark meat. Shark meat is also high in toxins and mercury so it’s also terribly unhealthy to consume.
This is a bit of a loaded question. You can learn about international shark finning bans and policies here and view a list of places that still serve shark fin (imitation) soup in the United States. So how is this still happening? Well, there are loopholes in laws and the fishing industry is largely and wildly unregulated. The US Shark Conservation Act 2010 requires all sharks (except smooth dogfish) be brought onto shore with their fins intact. Many people believe this is the only way to secure some kind of an enforceable ban on shark finning, but still enabling the collection of data on different shark species. But this doesn’t really stop or slow down the shark finning and shark fishing industry.
Don’t support companies that sell shark or shark derived products and support organizations actually working to protect sharks and sign petitions. I keep a list of petitions on my Shark Conservation page (coming soon) that I update regularly.
Using your voice is such a powerful tool. Talk about these issues with your friends and on social media and hold businesses and your government accountable. Download the Help Save Sharks letter to withdrawl your support of these companies.
I'm Tay, a photographer and educator based in Hawaii. My passions are sharing stories of love, from couples to adventure elopements. And I am also an underwater and brand photographer with a heart for creating impact.
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