The End of Sharks as We Know It

Elle Miller, Guest Writer

The star of Jaws is in need of humanity’s help. If we do not take action now, entire species of sharks could be wiped out.

Every year, approximately 72 million sharks die from overfishing. The demand is high for these aquatic creatures as they are a key ingredient in shark fin soup. Shark fin soup has been around for 1,000 years and is considered a delicacy in Chinese culture. It is often served at weddings or significant events. However, the soup contains no nutritional value. Although it is important to carry on tradition, is it worth the cost?

Sharks are disappearing from our waters fast. The International Humane Society (HSI) states 60% of shark species are endangered including the great white, mako, and hammerhead. If we do not see a rise in the shark population, we will have an offset in the oceanic ecosystem. This will not only affect wildlife, but also commercial fishing, or small communities that rely on their own personal fishing.

Since the situation has gotten tremendously worse, we have set into effect some regulations such as the U.S. Shark Conservation plan of 2010. This plan states sharks must be brought ashore with all of their fins intact. This prevents fishermen/women from detaching all of their fins and releasing their finless body back into the water. Although it doesn’t entirely slow down the process, it is a step in the right direction. Additionally, in 2012, the Chinese Government placed a ban on shark fin soup being served at an official event. This has put quite a decline on the production, but there is still so much that can be done. Some ways you may help combat this issue are through writing letters to your government officials, or spreading the word regarding the issue.

Although shark fin soup is a big component of Chinese culture and shows the status of oneself, it is important we do not completely abolish the meal but rather regulate its production to help keep sharks around for not only future generations, but the environment as well.