Shark Finning in China Decreasing

Finning is the process of cutting off every fin from freshly caught sharks and then throwing them back into the ocean, where they will sink to the bottom and bleed out. Shark fin soup originated in China as a traditional dish and its culture finds this food as a delicacy. This soup has become very popular in the restaurant business through the years, but lately that has changed. Many news teams went out and interviewed hotel owners that previously offered shark fin soup on their menus, and now have removed it. These owners stated that people have been buying the soup less because of many conservation campaigns, news releases, and lab reports that give them a reason not to purchase.

The issue of finning has been made to seem justified throughout history with the image the media portrays for sharks. They make them seem like human hungry animals when in reality, this is not true. According to statistics, people are way more likely to be accidentally poisoned or even just fall to their death than to be eaten by a shark. It has also been proven that more people die from bee stings and slipping in the bath than by shark attack. However, there are many reasons that people in China are now choosing to not eat fins.

Sharks have owned the ocean for more than 400 million years, but if people keep shark finning at the rate we do, they may only live for a few hundred more. So what happens when sharks go extinct? The fish that sharks eat will begin to overpopulate and eat smaller fish who control the algae populace. Instead of coral reefs, the surface of oceans will be covered in algae. Not only is this gross to look at, but it is extremely damaging. Photosynthesis can only occur when there is sunlight. As the sun goes down, or algae blocks it from shining in, plants turn from oxygen producing organisms to oxygen consuming organisms. Therefore, the more algae, the more oxygen will be consumed while the sunlight is blocked. Many fish will die because there is no oxygen in the water, and this throws the whole ecosystem out of play. On top of this, the sick and dying fish that sharks would eat will throw schools into chaos because they will contaminate the other fish in their school.

If someone kills a shark, they pay for it. In Palau, that will cost people two million a piece. Research into the value of sharks to tourism show us that a living shark is worth way more than a dead. For example, shark fins only sell for about 500 dollars.

Sharks are also the reason ecosystems are balanced, and this is the product of thousands and even millions of years of adaptation and evolution. We do not know how or even if oceans can respond to such abrupt changes in the environment because sharks are slow growing and breed very rarely—making their kind even more vulnerable.

Sharks are providers for humans. The ecosystems that sharks help manage cover two-thirds of our planet. They provide humans with more than half of the oxygen breathed and three billion people rely on them for food and their livelihood. Anything that happens in a world without sharks will not be good for people.

On top of dying ecosystems, shark fin soup has been found to contain incredibly high in BMAA levels—a neurotoxin—and is shown to be linked to various cancers and diseases. These results came from samples from shark’s fins taken in high quality labs.
Another reason many people do not know about the over fishing of sharks is because the real statistics supposed to be brought in by fishermen have not been recorded properly. An investigation into shark fins and ray gills sold in global markets reveals the majority are from species of high conservation concern,”, “that not only are shark fin and ray gills being caught illegally, but that the real statistics for shark catches worldwide are three to four times greater than the figures provided by the legal fisheries.”

When we’re thinking about this ethically, it is’s hard to understand why this is legal anywhere. Sharks cannot’t cry or scream in pain like humans can but getting finned is as painful as it looks. Finning is equivalent to getting a hand or foot chopped off and then being left for dead. If this was happening to humans it would be monstrous, but since it is’s happening to sharks, it seems to be socially acceptable. Although sharks have proven to be the heroes of the ocean, movies in the media have given them a bad rap, making finning seem okay.

Through this practice, not only have our ecosystems began to collapse, but people have shown that their ethics are completely backwards. Now that more of the statistics for finning have been revealed to the public in China, research shows a great deal less of people provide this soup for purchasing, and many do not even try to buy it in the first place.