Now, more than ever, two myths must be laid to rest. One, sharks are not mindless predators nor sinister man-eaters, and two, the oceans are not full of sharks. — Jean-Michel Cousteau
In fact, it is quite the opposite. Over 90 percent of the oceans sharks are gone. Brutal modern fishing practices, such as long-lining, and new demand for shark fins have decimated shark populations around the globe. Every year, 100 million sharks are killed by people. Sharks keep the oceans healthy, and they contribute to tourism economies around the world. We need sharks alive. Be a part of the growing momentum to protect sharks by supporting our OCEAN OF SHARKS campaign!
What is shark finning?
Shark finning is the practice of catching sharks and removing their fins (often while the shark is still alive), and throwing the rest of the shark into the ocean to suffocate and drown. Over 93% of the shark is wasted and the balance of the ocean is thrown out of whack. Shark fins are considered delicacies in many Asian cultures. However, sharks are much more valuable alive than dead. Encourage friends and family to avoid any restaurants or businesses that sell or carry any shark fin or any shark products.
Why are sharks important?
Sharks have been one of the top predators in the oceans for over 400 millions years - longer than flowering plants evolved on land. They are perfectly designed to keep the oceans healthy by eating fish that are sick or weak, driving the rest of the fish populations to be strong. The presence of sharks on reefs also influences the behavior of fish. When sharks are gone, fishes can overgraze, harming natural ecosystems, while the presence of sharks keep ocean animals alert and efficient.
Are sharks being protected now?
As numerous species of shark populations have declined drastically around the world, countries have begun putting conservation and management initiatives into place. In the United States, the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000 made it illegal for any vessels to engage in shark finning within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). However, a loophole in the bill allows shark fins products to still be traded within the US. To end shark finning around the world, the United States much ban all shark fin products so it is no longer profitable to sell and trade shark fins.
In 2013 California passed a law making it unlawful to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade or distribute shark fins. Ten additional states have now followed in shark conservation.
However, a loophole in the bill allows shark fins products to still be traded within the US. To end shark finning around the world, the United States much ban all shark fin products so it is no longer profitable to sell and trade shark fins.
In 2016 Congress introduce the Shark Fin Elimination Act, which will ban the trade of shark fins within the United States for any purpose. The United States continues to import shark fins, and five of the eleven countries that import have no shark finning bans in place. We need a national ban on shark fin products to discourage anyone from engaging in the practice of finning and upsetting the natural balance of our ocean planet. Join us in speaking up for the bill to protect sharks around the world!