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Karli Galione

Project 2 Draft 1
Professor Bradley
Sharks are Friends, Not Food

Sharks are no longer at the top of the marine food chain. A smaller
non-oceanic animal that does not live in the ocean preys on the oceans top
predator. This new top predator is killing and eating sharks faster than they
can reproduce. What animal is capable of this? Humans. Humans are known
for cutting the fins off of sharks for use in shark fin soup. This inhumane
practice is driving sharks to extinction and upsetting the oceans
ecosystems. , and something needs to be done about it. Laws and other
regulations are being put in place, but more needs to be done to protect the
sharks. The Support Our Sharks Ocean Conservation Society is working to
achieve this goal of encouraging the conservation of sharks.Many marine
biologists and shark conservationists have teamed up to discourage shark
finning around the world.
Every summer, there is a week dedicated only to sharks on Discovery
Channel. Shark Week, as it is called, has become increasingly popular. Its
purpose is to educate the public about sharks. Sharks are creatures that are
very misunderstood by humans. Because of attacks on humans, sharks are
believed to be very dangerous. Vic Peddemors, a shark ecologist, explains in

a Ted Talk that this is not the case. He explains that, in Australia, one is more
likely to drown than to be fatally attacked by a shark. In 2011, there were
only four fatal shark attacks, but 315 drownings.; 35 of the drownings took
place se being in the ocean, where the victimsy could have been killed by a
shark instead (Peddemors). Instead of fearing sharks, sharks should be
fearing fear humans.
What is Shark Finning?
One marine biologist, Ryan Kempster, began tThe Support Our Sharks
Ocean Conservation Society, or SOS for short. This organization, is working
across the globe to help protect sharks. He explains that oOne of the biggest
threats to sharks is shark finning. Finning is the inhumane act of cutting the
fins off of living sharks and throwing their mutilated bodies back into the
ocean (Sharks off the Menu 8). SOSs main goal is to educate the public on
this issue that could potentially damage the entire worlds ecosystem. They
also do their own research and publish news regarding conservation efforts
and anything relating to sharks. Their mission statement is To support
healthy oceans by promoting better protection for sharks and rays
Shark fins are the main parts of sharks consumed by humans. The
meat of the shark itself is not popular. Because of this, there is no reason for
fishers to keep the entire body of the shark on the boat. That is why they
throw the live, finless shark back into the ocean. It would be a waste of space
to keep what they fishers will not get paid for. This isThrowing carcasses

overboard is part of the reason that overfishing is such a problem. If less

space is allowed on boats, lessfewer sharks will be murdered.
Why does Shark Finning Happen?
The main reason shark finning exists ever began wasis for an Asian
dish called shark fin soup. This isThis soup is a traditional soup served at
high-classend events, such as weddings and other important events. It is
made from chicken staoclk and other seasonings and ingredients. The fin
itself has virtually no flavor and is used purely for its texture. Mahr explains
that shark fin soup is seen the same as champagne is in the United States,
more as a sign of wealth than as a tasty treat.
Shark fin soup has been a traditional dish in Chinese culture dating
back to the Sung Dynasty in 960 AD (Dellapa 152). It is a way for the
Chinese to show off their wealth, generosity, and social class (153). At
weddings, this soupit is a symbol of prosperity. It is considered rude if it is
not served at an important event. It goes so far as to makes the family look
look bad and poor. In Chinese traditions, itIt was believed that if one
consumes wild, strong animals, it will give themyou strength (152). Not only
would eating shark make oneyou stronger, according to the Chinese, it
provided health benefits.
In Hawaii, sharks were not commonly consumed. In fact, Dellapa
explains that sharks were seen as royalty to the Native Hawaiians (153).
When consumed, it was purely by males for them to gain power and
strength. Women could not eat shark because they associated sharks with

power and w. Women did not have power in this society. Only certain species
of sharks could be consumed: the hammerhead and the reef shark. All other
sharks were too sacred for mere mortalshumans to consume. Ancient
Hawaiian shark consumption laws were often punishable by death. Only
certain people were able to eat sharks other than the hammerhead and reef
sharks. Those people were the rulers and other of extremely high status.
Sharks are so important to the Native Hawaiians that when the Hawaii State
Department of Land and Natural Resources tried to move sharks from tourist
destinations, the Hawaiians fought back saying it was killing our ancestors
Whats the Problem with Shark Finning?
Shark finning is a big deal. It is currently driving sharks to extinction.
Shark conservationist Bertha Lo explains that the actual amount of sharks
being killed each year is unknown. It is estimated that between 23 and 76
million sharks are killed per year solely for their fins. That is one in every
fifteen sharks (Green). Lo also states that if shark consumption continues at
its current rate, almost all sharks will be extinct by the year 2021. Rima
Jabado says that at least seventy four species of sharks are classified as
threatened. The sawfish is the most threatened shark species. Angel sharks,
wedgefishes, guitarfishes, and thresher shark are some of the most
threatened species of sharks.

China is the largest importer of shark fins. Lo explains that Hong Kong
received over 10,300 tons of shark fins from eighty three countries in 2011
alone. That is only equivalent to half of the annual shark finning economy.
Many people have a false idea that sharks reproduce quickly, like most
other fish. This is not the case. Krista Mahr reports that great white sharks do
not reach sexual maturity until they are twelve to fifteen years old. That is
the length it takes most humans to reach sexual maturity. Overall, different
species of sharks can take between seven and twenty years before they can
reproduce (Green). Once reaching sexual maturity, the gestation period is
between one and two years. Not only is the gestation period longer than that
of a human, they produce just as many babies per pregnancy as humans do
(Green). Because of this, sharks cannot repopulate as quickly as they are
being hunted. Jennifer Schmidt reports that many shark species have been
on a sharp population decline within the last fifteen years. Great white sharks
have had a seventy nine percent decrease, thresher sharks have decreased
by eighty percent, and scalloped hammerheads have decreased by eighty
nine percent (Schmidt). This is within two decades. Imagine populations of
humans decreasing at such high percentages.
If sharks become extinct, imagine what would happen to the oceans
ecosytems. Vic Peddemors explains that sharks are needed to have a
healthy, diverse ecosystem. If sharks are not present, there will be too many
fish in one area. They will proceed to eat all of the smaller fish or crustaceans
present and then leave the area because there is no regulation. If there are

no fish in an area, there will be no birds that live off of marine life. They will
either eat excess rodents or leave the area altogether. One little upset in an
ecosystem does much more damage than one might think.
Not only is shark finning bad for the oceans ecosystems, shark fins are
dangerous to humans. In the Ming Dynasty, shark was believed to be good
for rejuvenation, appetite enhancement, nourishing to blood, beneficial to
vital energy, kidneys, lungs and bones (Man). More recently, this has been
proven to be false. Shark contains extremely high counts of mercury (Man).
Each country has a maximum mercury level a fish can have before it is
unsafe and cannot be sold in the market. In Australia, the maximum level is
1,000 g/kg and three species of dog sharks contained a mean mercury
concentration of 7,200, 4,300 and 1,190 g/kg (Man). These numbers are
no where near the appropriate maximum level. In addition, fish contain a
special kind of mercury, called methyl mercury (MeHg). MeHg is more
dangerous than plain mercury because the brain absorbs it quicker due to its
atomic makeup. Mercury leads to many health conditions, including memory
loss, concentration disorders, developmental problems with fine-motor skills,
visual-spatial learning disabilities, and other cognitive deficiencies.
On the Other Hand
Shark finning is a big deal for those in Asian countries. Shark fin soup is
a huge part of their culture. It has been around since the Ming Dynasty in the
1300s. Although it is mainly in China, many surrounding countries also
consume shark fin. In California, when the law banning the consumption of

shark fin soup began in 2013, the people of Chinatown were outraged
(Green). They found it to be discriminating. How can a nation deny someone
of their culture?.
There will always be people that disobey laws put in place. The black
market is very much a real thing. If shark finning becomes illegal globally,
many people will loose their jobs. Restaurants may not go out of business,
but they will suffer economically. Shark fin soup can cost up to $100 a bowl.
If a families go out to an engagement dinner to celebrate the couple, they
can spend thousands of dollars on the soup alone. Shark fin soup could
possible keep many restaurants in business. If out of business, many more
people will loose their jobs on top of those that have already been lost due to
the prevention of finning.
What is Being Done to Prevent Finning?
Because of the upset that the possible extinction of sharks is causing,
many nations are banding together to ban the process of shark finning.
There is no official international law that all nations have agreed upon;,
however, there is progress being made. The Conventional on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has been
working with around 180 nations, beginning with the United States in 1974,
to protect endangered species of the world. There are many different levels
to which animals are protected. This all depends on the level at which they
are threatened. Unfortunately, not all nations have agreed to honor CITES,
meaning not all nations must follow their laws. Also, exceptions can always

be made. Nations can obtain permits that allow them to still huntcontinue
hunting the desired animal. Each nation may manipulate the regulation
guide that CITES recommends, but it is not mandatory to follow. CITES is
working to protect sharks, but it still has a far way to go (Green).
The United States has done quite a bit of work to discourage shark
finning. In fact, it was made illegal to shark fin in US waters in 2000 when Bill
Clinton ratified the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000. This act included
the act of shark finning on any US boat even outside of the nations waters.
No unattached shark fin, including the tail, may be on a US boat. However,
the entire shark may be brought on board and its fins may be removed once
on US soil. These fish must be recorded before the fins are removed. It is not
illegal for shark fins to be consumed or imported. Thus far, nine states have
made laws against the use of shark fins for consumption or any other use.
These states include Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois,
Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Virginia, New Jersey, and Maryland
The passing of the extra shark protection laws was a huge deal in
California, as there is a place called Chinatown in San Francisco. Because
shark fin soup is such a big deal in the Chinese culture, the Chinese
Americans fought against the illegalities of shark fin consumption. They
argued that it was discrimination toward their race, but California
disagreedgave no shits. Although this was a very controversial decision, it is

possibly saving millions of sharks each year. Many other states are working
to follow the few states banning shark fins (Green).
The European Union and Central America have both put laws into place
banning the practice of shark finning (Sharks off the Menu 8). Europe
began with banning shark finning in the European Union in 2003,, but this
law has expanded more recently (Green). It is now illegal to cut the fins off
sharks at sea on any European Union flagged boat. At first, exceptions were
made that allowed fins to be cut off if the rest of the shark parts were used
efficiently (Green). This exception had to be changed, as many were cheating
the system. In Central America, shark finning is prohibited in their waters and
on Central American boats. They, like American ships, may bring the entire
shark to land and cut off its fins there though (Sharks off the Menu 8).
In China, there are currently no laws outlawing the practice of shark
finning. However, due to the laws in place in other countries, shark
consumption and imports have decreased dramatically. The article Sharks of
the Menu showsstates that, Shark fin imports to Hong Kong dropped
seventy percent between 2011 and 2012 (9). Crystal Green states that
Hong Kong imported 3,087 tons of shark fins in 2012 compared to 10,292 in
2011 (718). Unfortunately, the exact number of shark fin imports is
unknown, as it is not required for China to record the exact number of
imports each year. In all of China, imports decreased in half in 2011 alone
(718). However, the exact number of shark fin imports is unknown, as it is
not required for China to record the exact number of imports each year.

China will also no longer be serving shark fin soup at official banquets
(Sharks off the Menu 9). This is a huge step in the protection of sharks. There
is still much more progress to be made though. Green reports that only
twenty-one restaurant owners out of the fifty- two surveyed were aware that
sharks are endangered due to the soup they were serving (721).
In Australia, there are areas, called no go areas, where water vessels
may not enter that have become increasingly popular. Schmidt explains that
these areas contained similar numbers of sharks to islands in the Indian
Ocean where there is virtually no fishing. Australia also has areas, called no
take zones where fishing is not allowed. Boats may enter, unlike the no go
zones, but strict rules are enforced. In the no take areas, there are
significantly less sharks than in no go areas. This is mainly due to the fact
that illegal fishing still happens. If laws were enforced, there would not be
ninety seven percent less sharks in no take areas than no go zones
(Schmidt). Australia may have banned shark finning in their waters, but they
still have a long way to go before sharks will ever feel safe there again.
A less commonly known way to protect sharks is to regulate which
sharks are being caught. Taiwan was one of the first countries in Asia to
place restrictions on shark finning. This nation has become an advocate for
all Asian nations to at least slow down on killing the sharks. They require that
all sharks must be brought to land before the fins may be cut off. Through
doing this, the species of each shark must be recorded. Once recorded,

nations may see which sharks are being caught most often. Because of this,
they may regulate which species of sharks may be finned (Liu).
Sharks could be farmed. If companies banded together to farm sharks
like they do chickens and cattle, imagine the economic impact this could
have. If shark finning wild animals is banned worldwide, many people will be
out of jobs. Creating a system of farming sharks could put many of these
people back in business. Restaurants would be able to sell shark fin soup
again. The worlds economy could boom yet again. This would also help
encourage the growth of sharks. The only problem with this may be the rate
at which sharks mature sexually and their gestation period. Because both of
these take an extremely long time, shark finning will not be quite as
prevalent as it currently is. This could save sharks. It will encourage the
growth of wild sharks, and encourage growth of farm-raised sharks.
Most news about shark finning is done through online newspapers and
other online organizations. In these genres, ethos is the most important,
because these sources must be credible. Logos is also extremely important,
as facts are necessary to get the point across. If a marine biologist said that
lots of sharks are being killed for their fins each year, it is not very effective.
When a number is put on these sharks being killed, it is now put in the
correct light and becomes much more effective. While the numbers may be a
fact, the SOS website discretely uses pathos behind their logos. On the top of
their website, there is a number increasing by around two per second that

shows how many sharks are killed so far this year. That should drive anyone
to feel compassionate toward the sharks and angry toward those killing
them. Speeches and debates are also used to advocate sharks. They contain
all the same logos, pathos, and ethos as online organizations.
Shark finning is a huge issue for sharks worldwide. It is driving these
magnificent beasts to extinction. It is time for them to be protected. Nations
have begun working to ban the inhumane practice of cutting the fins off live
sharks, but still have a ways to go before all sharks are safe. This is the
mission of the Support Our Sharks Ocean Conservation Society. They work to
educate those around the world about the dangers of ruining the oceans
ecosystem for a bowl of soup. Sharks are important and continue to make
the food chain remain the way it is. However, humans are ruining this.
Humans should not be shark-eating people, as sharks are not man-eating

Works Cited
Dell'apa, Andrea, M. Chad Smith, and Mahealani Y. Kaneshiro-pineiro. "The
of Culture on the International Management of Shark Finning."
Environmental management 54.2 (2014): 151-61. Print.

Green, Crystal. "An International Sos (Save our Sharks): How the
International Legal
Framework should be used to Save our Sharks." Pace International Law
Review 27.2(2015): 701-28. Print.

Jabado, Rima W. Gulf Elasmo Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

Lo, Bertha. "Sharks Fin - What's All the Fuss About?" TEDx Talk. Wan Chai. 21
2012. YouTube. Web.

Liu, Shang-Yin Vanson, et al. "DNA Barcoding of Shark Meats Identify Species
Composition and CITES-Listed Species from the Markets in
Taiwan." PLoS

ONE 8.11 (2013): 1-8. Print.

Mahr, Krista. "Killer Cuisine." Time International (Atlantic Edition) 176.15

40-. Print.

Man, Yu Bon, Sheng Chun Wu, and Ming Hung Wong. "Shark Fin, a Symbol of
and Good Fortune may Pose Health Risks: The Case of
Mercury." Environmental Geochemistry and Health 36.6 (2014): 101527.

Peddemors, Vic. Sharks or Humans Who Should be Afraid? TEDx Talk.

3 Oct. 2012. YouTube. Web.

Schmidt, Jennifer V. "Sharks in Decline." Shark Research Institute. N.p., 24

Aug. 2011.
Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

"Sharks Off the Menu." Earth Island Journal 28.3 (2013): 8-9. Print.

Support Our Sharks. Ryan Kempster, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2015.

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