Shark finning is the process in which sharks in the worlds oceans are being hunted and caught using long-line fishing or other ways of capturing and killed for their fins. These sharks are being taken out of the ocean alive while their fins are being cut off and dismembered then they are thrown back into the ocean as waste known as “by catch”. This demand for shark fins is ever increasing and several parts of the sharks bodies are wanted in markets for exorbitant prices. Because of these high prices (500 dollars a pound) fisherman go out of their way to hunt them despite it being extremely illegal.

An estimated 100,000,000 sharks are killed each YEAR for their fins leaving them helpless and depleted. Sharks themselves mature within 7 to 20 years and during that time regulate and help the entire ocean thrive. Since shark populations take a considerable amount of time to recover its almost impossible for them to replenish as quickly as they are being removed from oceans.

World-wide shark populations have decreased 60-98% in the last 15 years because of the shark fin trade, this leaving them endangered and extinct in a matter of years unless something major can be done. Because of the desire for products like shark fins and shark cartilage, which allegedly treats diseases in joints but with no proof of actual benefits, we are destroying our fragile ecosystems with humans taking sharks place as the oceans top predator. Scientists predict that because of the damage we have done most shark species will disappear because of longline fishing alone in the next 10 years.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Shark Finning by Abby is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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6 Comments
  1. Mary 8 months ago

    Abby,
    Your article shocked me. I can’t believe shark finning is ongoing around our world, as I would’ve thought it would be outlawed long ago. Last year in biology, I learned about the significance of prosperous food webs in different ecosystems, such as the ocean. Sharks are considered an apex predator, or the top predator in its ecosystem. Their role is crucial, as they keep the entire ecosystem in balance. A declining shark population due to shark finning has the very real potential to destroy many aspects of ocean life. Shark finning is not only a moral issue, but an environmental issue as well. Sharks have an extremely high importance to our oceans, and I hope actions are taken to address this horrific issue. I found an article on the importance of sharks to the ocean that could support your argument: http://www.sharksavers.org/en/education/the-value-of-sharks/sharks-role-in-the-ocean/
    Great post, I hope to see you post more on this topic!

  2. Ceceli 9 months ago

    Abby,
    I wasn’t fully aware of how immense this issue is. I knew of it and that parts of it were illegal but not the extremity of the problem. The amount of sharks that die from just being left in the ocean after having their fins cut is so sad. I wonder how these fisherman can hurt an innocent animal like this just for the profits it provides. I think that if this business is absolutely necessary, which it isn’t, it should be done in a more humane way. For example, the sharks that get their fins taken should be humanely killed rather than suffer a slow death and not being to do anything about It. However I think this shouldn’t be an issue in the first place because there isn’t really any demand for the fins.

  3. Sean 9 months ago

    Abby,
    I never knew about this issue before reading your post, but now that i’ve read it I see how much of a problem Shark finning has become. It’s a despicable act, it’s like taking a person’s arms and legs off and expecting them to adapt. I thank you for raising awareness to this ever growing issue and I hope something is done about this.

  4. Cheryl 9 months ago

    Abby, I really enjoyed your article and I’m really happy you’re passionate about this issue. I really love learning new things about animal rights and I think shark finning is a big problem in our world today. I think it’s awful that people do this, just for money. In zoology last year, we watched multiple documentaries on the shark finning and it made me really happy to see people are really trying to change this in our world by going to other countries and protesting. It’s important to have sharks in our ecosystem, like you said, and when they disappear we could irreversibly affect our planet in a horrible way. I hope you continue to fight for this and bring awareness. It’s important people know about this issue. I loved you article and can’t wait to see what’s next!!

  5. Emma 9 months ago

    Abby,
    This was very interesting to read especially because I have never heard of this. It is very sad and devastating that these fisherman can not see the wide spread harm they are causing. I am wondering what is being done about it? I understand there are laws about it but is there any other actions being put in place? Also I now about whaling and how that is also having a negative effect on the ocean. Does the shark issue or the whale issue have a worse effect and what should the world try to stop first?

  6. Catherine 9 months ago

    Abby,
    I am a lover of sharks, they’re my second favorite animal overall and favorite ocean animal so I’m very passionate about this topic. I’ll start by saying that this disgusts me, I hate the slaughtering of sharks just for their fins, it sickens me. One thing that I find particularly disturbing though is how many fishers dispose of the body after. As I’m sure you know the shark fin only makes up 5% of the body weight, and shark finning being illegal, but also the rest of the shark body except various bits of cartilage are unused because they’re not a “delicacy,” the whole shark is not taken to market. A common method of getting rid of the body though is just throwing it back into the ocean, with the shark still being alive, but finless, causing it to drown.
    Sharks are starting to go extinct, it’s a tragic fact, but it’s still happening. What do you think we can do in the United States, seeing as how Shark Fin Soup is not a delicacy here, to help stop this and help protect sharks?

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