By Pratham Karkare:
Sharks are the most fascinating, and perhaps the most frightening creatures to have lived till date .The evidence for their existences dates back to the Ordovician period, around 450 million years ago. These natural born predators have survived the tests of time and it seems that through the process of evolution will continue to do so. However, man’s never-ending quest for an opulent way of life is proving to be cataclysmic for these creatures. This is because of the alarming increase in the practice of Shark Finning.
Shark Finning is the practice of removing and preserving the shark fins and the discarding of the rest of the fish. The finless sharks are then thrown back into the oceans. Though a large number of sharks do survive the painful amputation, after being thrown back into the ocean, they either drown or becoming incapable of hunting for food and ultimately they perish. It is sad to see that such beautiful and magnificent creatures, creatures which exude dominance have fallen to such lowly form of death
Shark fins are widely used as the main ingredients in Shark Fin soup, a Chinese delicacy .The soup’s increasing demand has also aggravated the problem of shark finning .Shark Fins are also used for their medicinal purposes especially in Asian countries. In reality, the shark fin does not add flavor to the soup and additionally chicken or pork is used for adding flavor. It is believed that the medicinal properties possessed by shark fins and cartilages can help curing joint pains and cancer.
Sharks grow very slowly. Some species can take more than 20 years to reach sexual maturity which means that they run a high risk of being caught before they are able to produce the next generation. Sharks also have very few offspring. Annually, about 73 million sharks are being killed .Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, China and some of the poorer Central American countries are the major hubs for this activity. Non-EU fin traders include Taiwan, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Yemen, Japan and Mexico.
Sharks are an important part of our ecosystem. An ecosystem is a complex function of all the living species. The exit of sharks from it, may lead to a boom in the population of some other marine life, and ultimately an imbalance I the ecosystem. Hence, the conservation of sharks is an utterly important. Shark finning has been banned in 17 countries however; the cruel practice of shark finning can be put to stop only by a perfect co-ordination between the government, non —profit organizations and privately funded projects. Shark finning violates the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries…Many countries is now considering it a serious problem… Non-government campaigns like SharkWater, Fighting Shark Finning are doing their best to fight against this activity by increasing awareness among the people.
Though campaigns against shark finning have not gained as much popularity as anti-whaling campaigns have. However, this does not change the fact that sharks are an important part of our world and their existence must go on. Sharks have a right to survive. They have been here long before us. This world is rightfully as much theirs’ as it is ours.