Shark overfishing

Human activity has led to more than a quarter of shark species around the world facing extinction.

Approximately 100 million sharks are killed globally each year, and one of the major incentives for this is the shark fin trade. 

In the last 50 years, the slaughter of sharks has risen by 400%, and in the next decade, it is anticipated that 20 species of sharks could become extinct.

 

Indonesia is the biggest shark fishing country in the world, the most recent data estimates around 100,000 tons of sharks and rays are killed in Indonesia every year.

Tanjung Luar is a fishing village specifically targeting sharks, located In the island of Lombok, a fishing port conterminous with the Indian Ocean.

 

Sharks are generally not caught for their meat, but for their valuable fins. The most prized shark fins can cost hundreds of dollars, with the average being about US$450 per pound. 

Shark meat, in contrast, is worth less than most fish. The number of people eating shark fin soup has risen from a few million in the 1980s to more than 300 million today. 

The soup is believed to be a secret for a long life, even though there is no scientific evidence for this. 

 

NGOs like The Dorsal effect and Wildlife Conservation Society, are working alongside local community to provide fishermen with education and alternatives before there are no sharks left to be fished, focusing on the tourism sector.

To date, shark fishing provides the most important source of economic livelihood for fishermen community. Interventions are urgently needed to protect sharks by making its fishing more sustainable.   

 

Shark cartilage, made from powdered shark skeleton, is most famously used for treat cancer, and HIV infection. 

Shark liver oil is being sold in pills as a cure for cancer in the same manner as cartilage. 

It has been scientifically proved that the active cancer-fighting agent in shark liver oil or in the cartilage is not present in quantities great enough to be beneficial for  humans. 

 

The vast majority of shark fins are destined for consumption in East and Southeast Asia, in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

However, the world’s largest consumers of shark meat are found in South America and Europe, with the most important importers being Italy, Brazil, Uruguay and Spain.

 

Most sharks are at the top of the food chain, which makes them crucial to the health of the oceans, Sharks cannot sustain the fishing pressure that some other bony fish can. This because sharks reproduce far more slowly. Other types of fish tend to reach sexual maturity quickly – often within a year – and lay millions of eggs each year. In contrast, sharks reach sexual maturity after 10 or more years – some of them as old as 40 – and then produce very few offspring, often only a few.

A major decrease in the shark population would trigger the extinction of many other smaller species and in turn would have a drastic effect on mankind.

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