Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Friends, not food!


shark finningWhat would happen to you if you couldn’t move, couldn’t get to food and couldn’t breathe? Chances are you’d probably die. Would that be something ethical to do to a human? No, it most certainly would not be. So why do it to an animal?

Shark finning is the process of removing a sharks fins (usually while the shark is still ALIVE!!) on a boat out at sea then throwing the “waste” (which is like 95% of the shark) back (Wikipedia, 2016).

Without their fins sharks are unable to swim and so sink to the bottom of the ocean, therefore they cannot obtain food so starve to death, if they aren’t eaten by other predators first (, 2013). Some of the shark species caught purely for their fins are obligate ram breathers, meaning that if they are not constantly swimming then no water will be pumped over their gills, they won’t get any oxygen and die of asphyxiation (Bennetta, 1996).

Shark finning is one of the most inhumane and unethical practices that is going on today in terms of getting food from animals. It is never ok to kill any animal for so wasteful a purpose as for just their fins. Removing their fins while they’re still ALIVE is just the most awful thing you can do to any living creature, and if they are still alive when they are dumped back in the ocean they are left to die a slow and painful death. How is that considered a reasonable thing to do?

Sharks have an important role to play in maintaining ecosystems, they kill off the weakest fishes and so promote strong and healthy individuals to reproduce. Sharks in their ecosystems prevent the whole food chain from collapsing and so are considered keystone species (Shark savers, 2016). (2016) has a page for voting whether or not shark fin soup for be banned, the overwhelming consensus from this page (85% of voters for, as opposed to the 15% against) is that yes, shark fin soup should be banned. Yet the cruel practice of shark finning continues. I can’t help but ask myself “why?”

Shark finning is banned in many countries and highly regulated in others, yet in Australia the regulations for shark finning are all over the place and seem ineffectual. Each state differs in the laws and legislations in place for the hunting of sharks, some requiring fishermen to bring sharks to port before they cut off their fins, others only requiring they bring back certain amounts of meat for each fin. (Australian marine conservation society, 2016)

It is Australia’s lack of common system which allows for unethical conduct by our fishermen, this needs to change, we as a country need a stricter and more uniform approach to restricting the death of such an important and beautiful animal.

If anyone is still able to consume such a cruelly sourced product then I hope they think of all the terrible ways that the food they’re eating has made some poor defenceless creature suffer and feel a great measure of guilt for it.


Australian marine conservation society, 2016. Shark Finning. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2016].

Bennetta, W. J., 1996. Deep breathing. The textbook letter, July-August., 2016. Should shark fin soup be banned. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2016].

Shark savers, 2016. Sharks’ role in the ocean. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2016]., 2013. What is shark finning?. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2016].

Wikipedia, 2016. Shark finning. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2016].


3 comments on “Friends, not food!

  1. BTJohnson
    May 5, 2016

    Before reading your blog I had no idea that shark finning was a thing! I’m disgusted that this still exists despite many countries abhorring the act. Thank you for providing the links, I followed up the Marine Conservation Society and found that 73 million sharks are killed per year. I also thought it was interesting that the site compared the economic value of the sharks fin vs. the income they can generate through tourism; it turns out the fin alone only counts for 0.00006% of the lifetime value of the shark!


  2. meganrw7
    May 5, 2016

    As well as the above comment, I also wasn’t fully aware that is was such an issue. The more publicized ones are about hunters cutting off elephant tusks for ivory, or even the declawing of cats, but not too much has been said about this case. However, a simple google search shows about 60k more results for ‘Shark Finning’ than it does for ‘Hunting for Elephant Tusks’. Interesting..
    I can understand that the Environmental board for the Government probably has a lot on their plate all day every day, but this seems to be one of those instances where they really sure get themselves into gear and actually consider what this is doing to our environment. In terms of the Government though, if it’s not directly hurting our economy, then I suppose they won’t worry about it, will they?
    Unfortunately though, this is a disgusting act of cruelty and there is no way this should be legal in any form at all.


  3. cherylkwong
    May 7, 2016

    I agree with your blog. People eat shark fin in special occasions such as wedding dinner in traditional Chinese cuisine. Nowadays, more people realize that eating shark fin is not ecofriendly. It is very harmful and ruthless to remove shark’s fins and put them back to the ocean.
    I start stop eating shark fin in 6 years ago. I try to talk with my family members and let them understand catching and eating shark fins are bad to ecology system. But it is a bit difficult to persuade my grandparents because they believe that eat shark fin is the way to celebrate and share happiness to others.
    I also agree with you that government of Australia need to start control the behaviour of catching shark fin.

    More information about Chinese and shark fin:


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This entry was posted on May 4, 2016 by in Burwood - Friday 2pm, Uncategorized and tagged , .

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