Extinction of Sharks
year more than 60 million sharks are
killed by humans. Partly because of
their fins for shark fish fin soup,
as bycatch in up to 40 miles long
driftnets of enormous fishing fleets,
for medically completely ineffective
cartilage powder or by the destruction
of their habitats.
You will find shark products often
at unexpected places as in restaurants,
snack bars or supermarkets. Shark
meat is offered also under various
other names as Smoked Rock Salmon,
Smoked Dogfish, a component in Fish
& Chips or Imitation Crab Meat
(Surimi). Also the worldwide protected
and extremely threatened whale shark
is on the Asian market (mainly Taiwan
and Japan) still offered as Tofu Shark.
Besides the British the Germans consume
most spiny dogfish. They produce the
out of the sharks belly. The British
use the spiny dogfish for "Fish
& Chips ". This kind of shark
is strongly overfished and its existence
in the Northeast Atlantic decreased
in the last 40 years by 90 percent.
Principal customers for shark fins
are mainly eastern cultures in which
shark fin soup represents a cultural
meal. It is a remarkable fact that
a shark fin, which consists to 90%
out of cartilage, is extensively tasteless
and only after days of boiling up
in a broth becomes soft and gets the
taste of the broth. Today shark fin
soup is a status symbol because of
the strongly risen prices within the
last few years.
can find shark products also in dog
fodder, fish flour and even in fertilizers.
From shark skin leather products such
as purses, shoes or clock bracelets
Shark liver oil is frequently a component
of the well-known cod-liver oil. In
the health sector shark cartilage
powders is marketed as fit making
food additive although shark cartilages
contains absolutely no fit making
or other wholesome ingredients.
Most problematic is the marketing
of shark cartilage as an anti-cancer
means. A publication published in
"Cancer Research" confirms
that shark cartilage preparations
showed absolutely no effect against
However in the gel sector (food/pharmacy)
shark collagen has few market chances
although particularly Spain tries
to penetrate into the market with
shark collagen. Spain,
one of the world largest shark fin
producer, has forbidden to
bring only the fins of sharks ashore.
According to law the whole shark bodies
must be brought now ashore. This leads
now ridiculous-proves to the fact
that out of the bodies the completely
ineffective cartilage powder is made
In the cosmetics sector from shark
cartilage won collagen is used for
anti-fold creams and other preparations.
Collagen from sharks is free of BSE
and more kosher which makes it interesting
for the Arab and Israeli markets.
(Source: Shark Foundation)
is called as the cruel cutting off
the fins of the sharks. Often the
sharks are still alive at this time.
The trunk of the shark (dead or alive)
is then thrown as redundant ballast
over board. The shark fins constitute
only approx. 14% of the total weight
of a shark but bring in on the international
market substantially more than shark
meat. The fins are used exclusively
for shark fish fin soup. Finning is
cruelly however lucrative; for a kilo
of shark fins in Asia an average over
100 US Dollar is paid.
Hong Kong and the mainland China dominate
the world-wide shark fin market to
50%. Statistics from Taiwan, Singapore
and Hong Kong point a growth like
an explosion of the trade with shark
Already 15 years ago according to
official data of the customs authorities
of Hong Kong 6954 tons of shark fins
were released for the re-export. The
number of exported fins might have
increased by a multiple since then.
They predominantly go to Taiwan, Singapore,
Malaysia, Korea and China.
Taiwan ranks at place five in the
world-wide shark fin trade. It maintains
the world-wide largest fishing fleet,
which fishes primarily in international
waters, far away from the own territorial
(Source: Shark Foundation)
shark existence of the east coast
of the USA decreased in the last years
substantially. The number of the hammerhead
sharks sank around 89%, those of the
thresher sharks around 80%, those
of the great white sharks around 79%.
The populations of the mako sharks,
blue sharks and tiger sharks sank
around 40-65%. The existence of the
sandbar sharks were reduced by overfishing
Canadian researchers announce a decrease
of the oceanic whitetip shark by around
99%. They are almost extinguished
in certain regions already.
the USA, along the Atlantic Coast
and the Gulf of Mexico, annually approx.
2.5 million sharks are fished by sportfishing
(game fishing). From that approx.
20-40% (500'000 - 1'000'000 sharks)
Sharks are not only caught actively
for their meat, fins or cartilages.
Millions of sharks die as non-usable
catch (bycatch) in the nets and longlines
of the swimming fish factories. The
population of all sorts of sharks
is worldwide extremely threatened.
(Source: Shark Foundation)
Sharks cannot longer compensate the
losses in all their habitats. Many
kinds of sharks are critically endangered,
some apply already today as biological
Particularly from China, where the
need of luxury goods and status symbols
strongly increased with the introduction
of the free market, threatens now
the final out for the sharks. If,
according to newest studies, the Chinese
economy and the associated prosperity
should continue equally, in a few
years more than 300 million Chinese
will be financially able to afford
shark fin soup regularly. The fishery
and the world-wide operating shark
fin dealers get already prepared to
supply them "on time". This
time might be the definitive end for