Comp. 1 rd 3 hour
Shark finning will destroy the ocean Human beings are skilled at justifying their actions. Every year humans slaughter over 100 million sharks yet we depict them as vicious and bloodthirsty killers. No more than 12 people a year are killed by sharks worldwide. In fact according to a July 4, 2003 Reuters headline, "more people are killed in the United States each year by vending machines than by sharks."
Sharks play a very important role in the oceans in a way that an average fish does not.
Sharks are at the top of the food chain in virtually every part of the ocean. In that role, they keep populations of other fish healthy and in proper proportion for their ecosystem. Sharks have evolved in a tight interdependence with their ecosystem. They tend to eat very efficiently, going after the old, sick, or slower fish, keeping that population healthier. Sharks groom many populations of marine life to the right size so that those prey species don’t cause harm to the ecosystem by becoming too popular. Through intimidation, sharks regulate the behavior of prey species, and prevent them from overgrazing vital habitats. Some shark scientists believe that this intimidation factor may actually have more of an impact on the ecosystem than what sharks eat.
For example, scientists in Hawaii found that tiger sharks had a positive impact on the health of seagrass beds. Turtles, which are the tiger sharks’ prey, graze on seagrass. In the absence of tiger sharks, the turtles spent all of their time grazing on the best quality, most nutritious sea grass, and these habitats were soon destroyed. When tiger sharks are in the area turtles graze over a broader area and do not overgraze one region.
For all the amazing work sharks do to protect the ocean they are still being hunted by humans and for what? There fins! It is the mass slaughter of sharks on long lines and in nets for the sole purpose of taking their fins that is responsible for the incredible diminishment of shark populations around the world. The fins are highly prized. The fishermen catch the sharks and slice off the fins, unmindful whether the shark is alive or not. The bodies, most of them still alive, are tossed back into the sea to bleed to death or to be attacked by other sharks or fish. The fins are dried, stacked, and sold, mostly illegally. The buyers extract the collagen fibers, clean them, and process them into "shark fin soup." This soup has no flavor and absolutely no nutritional value. It is a dish served only for prestige purposes, selling for anywhere from
US$50.00 to US$400.00 per bowl. The demand for shark fin soup has developed since 1985 and coincides with the rapid growth of the Chinese economy. The demand from China is for staggering amounts of shark fins. As a result, the oceans are literally being scoured clean of sharks. Poachers are invading national marine parks like the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador and
Cocos Island in Costa Rica to catch sharks. Forget the fictional fear spawned by Steven
Spielberg's ridiculous film Jaws. The oceans are no longer safe for sharks. And the horror is that
we don't just kill them, we hack off their limbs and toss their mutilated bodies back into the sea to die an agonizing and horrific death. Some people think that humans merciless actions against sharks are justified by using the fins for medicine but few seem to know what shark fins really contain. Not only are there no health benefits to eating shark fins, but new research shows that they are loaded with mercury and heavy metals that are 42 times higher than the safe levels for humans. It is because of human greed that these magnificent creatures populations are