“The key point is not about animal rights or ethics, it’s really about “sustainability”. The shark fin trade is unsustainable, and we stand to lose an animal that is essential to oceanic health.”
Marine scientists regard sharks as “keystone species”, meaning they play an essential role within complex marine ecosystems. Without them operating as pillars within these food web structures, entire marine ecosystems may collapse. Consistent with many other top predators, sharks require many years to reach sexual maturity (between 10 – 20+ years depending on the species). Once pregnant, they gestate for a long time too (8 – 22 months depending on the species). When sharks spawn, they give birth to small litters (between 4 – 40 pups depending on the species). For these reasons, there is no business case for shark farms, and none exist in the world today. Every bowl of shark fin soup today, comes directly from wild stocks.
It’s just simple logic. Sharks are programmed by evolution to not breed in large numbers. As a species, they cannot withstand over fishing pressures. 41 of the world’s most celebrated and renowned marine scientists, field researchers and academics penned an open letter, where they stated jointly that the shark fin trade is unsustainable. With strong demand from China and countries with large Chinese populations, time is running out. Soon there may no longer be enough sharks in the sea and this could have a negative knock-on effect on marine ecosystems around the world. Consequently the supply of seafood as diverse as fish, crabs, shrimps, abalone and more could also be affected. If nothing is done, smoked salmon sushi, scallops and crab-sticks could be nothing more than a gastronomic memory.