Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Source material about shark finning

→ Science News, 04/11/2006: "New Estimates of the Shark-Fin Trade"
... one Hong Kong fin trader recently told [Clarke from Imperial College London]: "I think the real fin trade is three times what you estimated." ...
... A disturbing fact gleaned from the Hong Kong auctions, the researchers say, is that many of the fins being traded come from immature animals. Unlike most fish, sharks may take up to 20 years before they reproduce for the first time. Moreover, sharks bear few young at a time -in many cases only two to four- and, typically, only every few years or so. Harvesting sharks before they've reproduced limits the chance that already depleted shark populations will recover. ...
→ Imperial College London, 25/10/2006: "Sharks in danger from fashion for fin soup"
... results show that between 26 and 73 million sharks are killed each year ...
... The species most at risk of being killed for their fins include blue shark, hammerheads and silky sharks, but many other species are also used. ...
→ National Geographic, 12/10/2006: "38 Million Sharks Killed for Fins Annually, Experts Estimate"
... The shark-fin industry, concentrated in a few Asian trading centers, is secretive and wary of any attempts to regulate, or even investigate, its practices. ...
→ The Guardian, 31/08/2006: "Sharks pay high price as demand for fins soars"
... In the fish markets of Asia, the tailfin from a basking shark can fetch nearly 10000 USD ...
... Demand for the delicacy is rising fast, and at up to 100 USD a bowl, fisheries around the world are in open competition to supply more than 10000 tonnes of fins to Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore every year. ...
... According to the conservationists, finning is exacerbating a crisis in global shark populations, some of which have already plummeted by more than 90% since the advent of industrialised fishing. Records from fisheries published in 2003 revealed that numbers of thresher sharks have fallen by 75% in just 15 years through overfishing. ...
... The majority of sharks caught for their fins are the blue sharks, threshers and hammerheads of more exotic waters, but North Atlantic species, including the porbeagle, angel, shortfin mako and spiny dogfish - sold in British fish and chip shops as rock salmon - are also under threat. ...
... Spain, home to one of the largest fisheries in the world that catches 50000 tonnes of sharks per year and supplies nearly one third of all shark fins on the Hong Kong market. ...
→ The Independent, 25/06/2006: "FINS FOR SALE: Galapagos sharks are under threat due to growing demand for £100-a-bowl soup in Chinese restaurants"
... Despite bans on the trade in fins, conservationists believe that in the past five years the fins of more than 1.7 million sharks have been exported from Ecuador - and the Galapagos region accounted for more than 80 per cent of those. ...
... Leonor Stjepic of the Galapagos Conservation Trust yesterday warned that the shark populations of the islands' waters were in dramatic decline. ...
... [Finning] is wreaking havoc on the marine reserve that surrounds the Galapagos and is home to 33 shark species. Of those, the hammerhead, the blue, the thresher, the black tip, the mako and the Galapagos are being hit hardest. ...
→ United Nations, 18/05/2006: "Overfishing causes dramatic decline in stocks"
... more than 50 per cent of the highly migratory oceanic sharks ... are overexploited or depleted. ...
→ The New York Times, 05/01/2006: "Hidden Cost of Shark Fin Soup: Its Source May Vanish"
... Some sharks, like the hammerhead and the great white, have been reduced by upwards of 70 percent in the last 15 years, while others, like the silky white tip, have disappeared from the Caribbean. ...
... Fins sell for as much as 700 USD per kilogram in Asia, making big sharks worth thousands of dollars. ...
... With the waters off Asia largely depleted, fishermen are focusing on regions that still swarm with sharks, like the cold, deep waters of the Pacific from Peru north to Central America. ...
→ Natural History Museum: "Jaws: The natural history of sharks"
... All over the world, sharks are big business, and over 150 million are slaughtered each year as the demand for shark products increases: sharks are prime targets for sports anglers; shark meat is low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fats so shark steaks have been replacing red meat on sale in supermarkets; shark-liver oils are added to cosmetics and health-care products because they are the nearest inexpensive oils to natural skin oils; shark is turned into luxury leather for shoes, handbags and wallets; shark teeth are used as ornaments and in jewellery; shark cartilage can be a substitute for human skin to make artificial skin for burns victims; shark corneas have been used as successful substitutes for human corneas; a course of freeze-dried shark cartilage pills is claimed to arrest the growth of tumours; but by far the biggest and most lucrative market is dried fins for making into shark fin soup. ...
... Once a rare delicacy, consumed only by Chinese aristocracy, it is today a gourmet food on sale, for up to 150 USD a bowl, in specialist restaurants worldwide. Such is the demand for fins and the remuneration so great, unscrupulous fishermen catch sharks, cut off their fins and throw their living bodies back into the sea, where they cannot move or swim and either starve to death or drown. This barbaric practise is known as 'finning' ...
... With all this commercial interest, the temptation is for fishermen to catch every shark they can find, no matter what the biological or economic consequences. ...

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