Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Say No to shark finning

Shark finning is the practice of catching a shark, removing its fins, and dumping the still living shark back into the sea to slowly bleed to death. Shark fins are used in shark fin soup and for traditional medicines.The Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament put ban on shark finning. The number of sharks that are killed for their fins is uncertain, but estimates ranges from 26 to 73 million sharks are finned each year. The value of the shark fin trade is more than US$1 billion per year.

Removing the fins from a shark and throwing the body back in the water also makes it difficult for fisheries managers to know which species the fin comes from. A recent study using DNA tests showed that endangered shark species show up in shark fin soup.

The Fisheries Committee is considering a ban on shark finning, rather than shark fins. If passed, sharks could still be caught and used for their fins. The whole shark would have to be brought ashore and then finned. European nations are some of the largest providers of shark fins to Asia, so reducing finning there would have a significant effect on shark conservation.

We need sharks in our oceans. Without sharks and other top-level carnivores to keep populations of sub-predators in check, we run the risk of losing productive and well-balanced marine ecosystems to trophic collapse. .Hawaii banned the possession and sale of shark fins in 2010. Washington State signed a similar prohibition into law on May 12 of this year, and in California, a ban on trafficking in shark fins is working its way through the legislature.

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