The Japanese shark fishing industry

75 tons of blue shark laid out on the dock in the Japanese fishing port of Kesen-numa City, July 6th, 2010. The day before, 44 tons of blue shark, ten tons of salmon shark and three tons of short fin mako were seen here… this happens 6 days a week, all year long…

Sharks take years to reach sexual maturity and have very few young. Taking them in the quantities shown in the above is simply not sustainable. Sharks are apex predators and have been around for hundreds of millions of years. Removing them from ecosystems is having devastating effects, many possibly irreversible, on food webs throughout the ocean. For what? Because shark fin soup is trendy and spendy? Despite the fact that shark fins themselves are tasteless cartilage? The Chinese argue that shark fin soup is tradition. Well so is female circumcision but the rest of the globe is horrified by it. Some shark species have declined as much as 90% in the past decade. It’s time for this extremely wasteful and harmful practice to stop.

See this link to photo journalist Alex Hofford’s documentation of mass, industrial shark finning is a sobering look at why this industry needs to be stopped.

What can you do? Plenty:

Ocean Conservancy: Sign Our Petition to Save Sharks!
Oceana: Put An End to Brutal Shark Finning
Shark Angels: Get Involved
Shark Trust Campaigns: Click to see how you can get involved!
Shark Savers: Ways you can help save sharks
Make a Difference: See SHARKWATER!
TreeHugger: Take Action: Help End Unsustainable Shark Finning
Humane Society International: Help Stop Shark Finning
Join the MarineBio Conservation Society!

What do you think about the shark-finning and overfishing in general? Share your thoughts below.