Advocating for Global Ban on Shark Finning

Categories: Animals Rights

Introduction: Cruelty Unveiled

Shark finning, a ruthless practice, demands immediate global prohibition. Recognized as the apex predators of our oceans, sharks play a pivotal role in maintaining marine equilibrium by culling the sick, weak, and dying creatures within their environment.

Shark Finning Process

Visualize a fishing boat navigating the vast seas. Miles of cable, adorned with thousands of baited hooks, are cast into the ocean currents, only to be gradually drawn back into the vessel. This long-line fishing technique results in a myriad of marine life caught on hooks, including dolphins, turtles, swordfish, tuna, and, most significantly, sharks.

While tuna and swordfish find a purpose in being stored, all others, deemed "by-catch," are discarded as "trash," irrespective of their life status.

Sharks, however, face a particularly gruesome fate. Their fins, easily storable, are brutally hacked from the bodies of still living animals. The mutilated shark bodies are then callously tossed overboard, left to endure a slow and agonizing death. This inhumane and wasteful practice gains a sinister dimension when considering the staggering 90% wastage of this protein source in a world grappling with starvation.

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The trade of shark fins becomes a lucrative business, especially in Oriental fish markets.

Cultural and Economic Aspects

Questioning the necessity of this process for a cultural delicacy in Asia becomes imperative. A bowl of shark fin soup can command prices as exorbitant as $400. However, the reality is that the boiled shark fin, lacking both flavor and nutritional value, serves as a mere vessel for other herbs and spices that enhance the broth.

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The sinewy cartilage, when consumed, provides no nutritional value. Recent evidence even suggests the potential presence of high levels of mercury in shark tissue, as these apex predators absorb and retain health-hazardous heavy metals.

In Oriental societies, shark fin soup is considered an aphrodisiac or sexual enhancer, adding an additional layer of demand that further exacerbates the toll on shark populations.

Health Risks

The concern over health hazards associated with consuming shark products intensifies with the revelation of potential mercury contamination. As sharks occupy the top tier of the food chain, they are prone to absorbing and retaining significant doses of health-threatening heavy metals, including mercury. This raises alarms among world health officials about potential cancer-causing effects resulting from this cultural "fad."

Moreover, the consumption of shark fin soup, considered an unnecessary luxury, poses health risks that extend beyond individual health to global public health concerns.

Environmental Consequences

Recent research by the Wildaid Conservation Organization reveals alarming declines in coastal and oceanic shark species, particularly in the Northwest and North Atlantic. The estimate that sharks have declined by over 89% in the past 8 to 15 years underscores the urgency for global conservation efforts. Immediate action is imperative, including measures such as by-catch reduction, comprehensive research on landings, trade restrictions, and cultural reeducation.

Shark finning emerges as a global problem requiring a unified international effort for an effective global solution. As the president of the World Wildlife Federation rightly asserts, in a world grappling with declining fish stocks due to growing human populations, discarding 95% of a valuable protein source for the sake of an unnecessary luxury is not, and should not be, an option.

Conclusion: Apex Predators Under Threat

Sharks, as the top apex predators in our oceans, are in peril due to the unconscionable practice of shark finning. The urgent need to ban shark finning worldwide becomes apparent when considering not only the cruelty inflicted on these vital marine creatures but also the far-reaching consequences for marine ecosystems and global health. It is our collective responsibility to take immediate and concerted action to safeguard the delicate balance of our oceans and preserve the invaluable role that sharks play as apex predators.

Updated: Dec 29, 2023
Cite this page

Advocating for Global Ban on Shark Finning. (2016, Jul 20). Retrieved from

Advocating for Global Ban on Shark Finning essay
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