I search the internet almost daily for articles and updates about shark finning and I keep hoping for good news on the California shark fin ban. Unfortunately it seems like those in charge just keep having the same argument. The individuals opposed to the ban are saying it is an attack against chinese culture and they have the right to consume shark fins based on traditions. First of all, this has absolutely nothing at all to do with culture or wanting to take away some right to eat a particular dish. This entire issue is about the health of our oceans. Sharks are a game changing component in our ocean ecosystems. If we lose them, and at the rate we are going we will, then our oceans will be altered in incredibly devastating ways. Aside from the importance of sharks, the act of shark finning alone is barbaric and terrible. Shark finning consists of dragging a shark on board a boat, slicing it’s fins off while it is still alive and then dumping its body back in the ocean where it will sink to the bottom and either drown, bleed to death, or get eaten alive by other animals. In order to draw the largest profit, which is really what the opponents to the bill are concerned with, the fishing boats don’t waste precious space with full bodies. Fins take up less area and that is where the money is.
On to my second point about why the individuals opposed to the ban are so unbelievably frustrating. What about the rest of the world? The health of the oceans affect us all. 73 million sharks are killed every single year and the majority goes to shark fin soup. So are we just supposed sit back, sip our soup and watch the apex predator of the ocean disappear? What about our right to healthy oceans? What about the sharks right to not be mutilated and then dumped back into the water to wait for death. I read an article a few months ago about a baby whale shark that washed up on a shore in Australia with no fins attached. It was just dying….slowly dying after someone had cut its fins off. This is not about being prejudice, this is about saving our oceans and saving a species that has been around for 400 million years.
We cannot lose sharks, our ocean, our fisheries to a soup.