Sharks have roamed our oceans since before the time of dinosaurs, but their long reign at the top of the ocean food chain may be ending. The onset of industrial fishing over the past 60 years has drastically depleted their populations. Of the shark and ray species assessed by scientists for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 30 percent are threatened or near-threatened with extinction.
Shark finning –- the practice of catching a shark, slicing off its fins and then discarding the body at sea -– takes a tremendous toll on shark populations. Up to 73 million sharks are killed every year to primarily support the global shark fin industry, valued for the Asian delicacy shark fin soup.
In general, sharks grow slowly, mature late and produce few young over long lifetimes, leaving them exceptionally vulnerable to over exploitation and slow to recover from depletion. As key predators, their depletion also has risks for the health of entire ocean ecosystems. For example, tiger sharks have been linked to the quality of seagrass beds through their prey, dugongs and green sea turtles, which forage in these beds. Without tiger sharks to control their prey’s foraging, an important habitat is lost.
Canada has the longest coastal line of any country which is home to 27 different shark species. Canada has a legitimate shark fishing industry and foreign vessels are not closely monitored, possibly resulting in shark finning, For these reasons, Shark Fin Free Calgary encourages supporters to sign a federal petition to change the Fisheries Standard that will protect all sharks in Canadian waters until they are at least of reproductive age. This petition can be found along with our petition to the city of Calgary on our website and at various locations around the city.
Shark fin is served in over 30 restaurants* and other establishments that we are aware of right here in Calgary! Additionally, many restaurants not advertising shark fin on their menus, will often make it available for special order for banquets and other events. For every soup bowl not sold, a shark ultimately gets saved. Although it may not be heavily advertised, shark fin soup is popular throughout Canada. When the buying stops the killing can too!
And here’s how they suggest you can help:
To learn more about the local efforts to stop shark finning, visit Shark Fin Free Calgary‘s website.