What is shark finning?

Shark finning is the name given to the practice of removing a shark’s fins from its body, usually for the purpose of sale. This process of Shark finning often results in the body of the shark being dumped at sea, in order to keep just the fins, which fetch a higher price for sale for their weight (per pound). Dumping a maimed shark back in the ocean without fins, is essentially a slow death sentence, and is seen by many as being incredibly cruel.

Shark fining has come under increased scrutiny in recent years for its in-humane nature, and wasteful practices. Animal rights activists have been petitioning to outlaw shark-fining in countries across the world, and to ban the import of shark fins, to stamp out the industry from making enough money to be deemed viable to continue.

The UN estimates 73 million sharks are killed for their fins every year, but this figure is very hard to estimate effectively and does not take into account other sharks killed for consumption.

Shark fining is a brutal practice that has been outlawed in Canada, the USA, the European union and Costa Rica. However some countries have only outlawed the actual practice of “shark-finning” however import of shark fins is still legal. This grey area or loop hole is still being exploited by shark fin importers. These products usually end up in restaurants (shark fin soup) or to be sold to make cosmetics and traditional medicines.

Sharks are a vital part of the ocean food chain, and selectively hunting them for the purpose of fining is having noticeable effects on marine ecosystems’ health. As an Apex predator, sharks keep eco-systems in balance, and the effects of large scale removal of sharks is already being seen.

The act of catching a shark, removing its fins and discarding of its body is incredibly cruel, and is understandably a widely controversial practice.

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