Make Sure Sharks Don’t Have A Fin-ale
The first thing that comes into mind when I think of sharks is a silly camp song called Baby Shark. It is a hilarious attempt to try to explain an animal’s life cycle to kids of all ages. Some people might also think about the movie Jaws, a trip to their local aquarium or even Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (for all of the musical theatre buffs out there). But the shark population is also steadily declining.
Even though there are over 1,100 species of sharks in the open water, their numbers are sharply declining as they become one of the world’s most vulnerable animals. Sharks take a long time to conceive children as sharks grow slowly and produce few offspring. Overfishing also diminishes shark populations, but it’s what humans are specifically fishing for that is really reducing the amount of sharks in the ocean: shark fins.
Shark fins are mainly used for shark fin soup, an extremely popular delicacy in Asian cultures. The Wildlife Conservation Society says that the fins are what drive global shark fisheries. The fisheries produce shark solely for the fins and to make a profit—up to $100 per bowl of Shark Fin Soup. Because of the shark fin trade, the WCS believe that anywhere from 26 to 73 million sharks are killed per year.
States such as Hawaii, California and New York are pursuing legislation to prevent shark fin trade. They are also working animals’ rights organizations to promote the vulnerability of the cartilaged marine animal.
Sharks are definitely a unique species with a lot of traits that are well-known to the general public. Because they are always in the limelight, the public should do what it feels is right and let the species become larger by not buying shark fins and eating them. Quoting Bruce the Shark from Disney and Pixar’s Finding Nemo, “Fish are friends, not food.”