Sunday, 29 April 2012

Eating shark fin soup makes you stupid

70 - 100 million sharks killed every year - Completely unsustainable
April 2012. Shark fin soup is seen as a luxury and prestigious dish and is often served at weddings and banquets. Although it has no taste, it is desired for its texture - somewhat sinewy apparently. Shark fin soup was much prized by Chinese emperors, but as there were so few of these, it never threatened shark populations until many many more people became able to afford it. 


Unintended consequences - Scallop fishery collapse - Coral reef destruction - Sea grass disappearing
Unfortunately nowadays, many millions of people now eat the soup and consequently, sharks are being killed at a completely unsustainable rate. Whilst some foolish people may think - So what, who needs sharks? The answer is we all do. The almost complete disappearance of large sharks from the Eastern seaboard of the USA has led to a collapse of the once prolific and profitable scallop industry. Why? The absence of large sharks has seen numbers of rays, especially cow-nose rays, increase rapidly, and what do they eat? Scallops. (Now there are so few scallops, indications are that they will turn to clams and oysters.).
Similar effects have been shown to destroy coral reefs (fish that eat coral abound without shark predation) and sea grass beds (Dugong eat a lot more when there are no sharks about), and some key fish stocks are depleted when seal numbers increase. Thus the effects are widespread, and often unforeseen. Canada is often pilloried for killing seals, which they do partly to protect fish stocks - Yet if there were more sharks about this may well not be necessary.
Shark decline unsustainable
At these current rates, many large sharks may become extinct in many of the areas that they used to be found in in a few years' time. The trouble is that if this happens, as can be seen from the current butchery of rhinos and elephants, the price for shark fin will go up and so the few that there are will be even more persecuted.
According to Oceana.org - Scientists estimate that fishing has reduced large predatory fish populations worldwide by 90 percent over the past 50 to 100 years.

Sharks now represent the largest group of threatened marine species on the World Conservation Union's IUCN) Red List of threatened species. Yet only three of the 350 shark species - basking, whale and white - are protected from the pressures of international trade. The remaining species are ignored or seen as low priorities despite their vulnerability to overfishing and their important role in their ecosystems.

No comments:

Post a comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

ShareThis