What 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 (Stopsharkfinning.net, 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).
Debate.org (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: http://www.marineconservation.org.au/pages/shark-finning.html [Accessed 4 May 2016].
Bennetta, W. J., 1996. Deep breathing. The textbook letter, July-August.
Debate.org, 2016. Should shark fin soup be banned. [Online] Available at: http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-shark-fin-soup-be-banned [Accessed 4 May 2016].
Shark savers, 2016. Sharks’ role in the ocean. [Online] Available at: http://www.sharksavers.org/en/education/the-value-of-sharks/sharks-role-in-the-ocean/ [Accessed 4 May 2016].
Stopsharkfinning.net, 2013. What is shark finning?. [Online] Available at: http://www.stopsharkfinning.net/what-is-shark-finning/ [Accessed 4 May 2016].
Wikipedia, 2016. Shark finning. [Online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shark_finning [Accessed 4 May 2016].