Wednesday, January 12, 2011

“Soup’s on!”

In 2008, four humans were killed by sharks, while each year, more than 100 million sharks are killed through commercial and recreational fishing.

If that contrast weren’t shocking enough, consider that about 73 million of those 100 million sharks killed are slaughtered solely for their fins “to provide the shark fin soup that is so popular in Asia.”

After their fins are sliced off, according to a Jan. 2 NYTimes editorial, the sharks are dumped back in the water, where because they can no longer swim, they sink to the bottom and die.

“Soup’s on!”

What a world. But the editorial did offer a little good news: Last month, Congress passed a law that bans “finning” in all US waters, expanding an earlier ban off the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico only. While making just a small difference overall, this law gives the US credibility to press other fishing nations to do the same.

Meanwhile, an international commission has banned fishing for a number of shark species – all now closing in on extinction. Altogether, after an ocean presence of 400 million years, an estimated third of about 1,000 shark and ray species are in the “same boat.”

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