Save the Sharks

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Click the photo to see the video: Tears of a Mermaid.

Hi everybody!  I have decided to explain why I firmly refuse to have anything that has shark fins.  After the multiple encounters with soupy cooked shark parts this Chinese New year, I realized that even dad (sorry dad :p) doesn’t quite understand why we shouldn’t be killing sharks.  You’ll be surprised because there is a lot to this than cruelty.

It’s my first post in multiple languages!  Click here for the 中文, 日本語 and Korean versions 😀

First up, your familiar argument: cruelty.

100 million sharks are killed each year, which is more than 3 sharks losing their fins every second for our tables.  In contrast, an average of less than 1 person is killed by a shark each year.  You are much more likely to die from drowning at a beach (5 deaths a day) than ever meet a shark.  You shouldn’t randomly go hug a shark, but they’re certainly not killing monsters.

50% of the global shark population have disappeared, and some populations have declined by 60-98% during the past 15 years.  over 28% of shark species are in danger of extinction.  52% are on the IUCN Red List as threatened species.

Sharks simply cannot reproduce fast enough to recover from these losses.  Many of them are finned even before they can reproduce.

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Sharks are finned alive because it is more time and space efficient for the fishermen, or they cannot be landed because it is illegal.  And after their fins and tails are cut off, they are tossed back into the ocean to die a long and lonely death.  There are a few ways that this could end for the shark.  They either bleed to death, starve to death, eaten alive, or they suffocate, because most sharks need to swim to get oxygen from the water that flows through their gills.

Click if you want to see the photos of shark finning.  And one waiting on the sea floor for death.

Two videos: if this first one is too much for you, please don’t watch this one 😦  All for 4 little pieces of fins.

Second, health risks.

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Sharks are boneless creatures.  Their bodies are supported by cartilage, which is what makes up the shark’s fins.  Cartilage also makes up your nose and ears.  The softer parts of the shark fins contain a material called ceratotrichia, structurally similar to keratin, which makes up your nails, hair and the outer layer of your skin.

A 2012 study detected a cynobacterial neurotoxin in shark fins that may increase risks of degenerative brain disease such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Shark fins and meat also contain mercury, released into the environment by industries, at levels that are unsafe for human consumption.  Mercury in our bodies accumulate in the brain and impair neurological development.  Infants and children with growing brains are especially vulnerable to mercury, which causes cognition, concentration disorders, loss of memory, visual-spacial as well as fine motor skill disabilities.

 

And the one reason that will affect us, our children, our future, and millions of other species which share this Planet with us.

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Sharks tend to eat very efficiently, going after the old, sick, or slower fish in a population that they prey upon, keeping that population healthier.

Depletion of sharks results in the loss of commercially important fish and shellfish species down the food chain, including key fisheries such as tuna, that maintain the health of coral reefs.

Sharks regulate the behavior of prey species, and prevent them from overgrazing vital habitats, such as sea grass beds and coral reefs (study).

Shark population decline leads to complex ecosystem changes and disturb the current ecosystem balance.

Video: Diving with a Great White Shark

Learn more about sharks!  Jonathan Bird: Shark Biology

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Caribbean Reef Shark.
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Whale Shark: the largest fish on the Planet.
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Our oceans cannot live without sharks.
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