March 23, 2012

Saving Sharks From Ending Up As Shark's Fin Soup

Audubon Magazine "Killing sharks takes some doing, so they’re often tossed overboard alive." by Ted Williams

'They tend to wriggle along the bottom until they starve or, if they’re lucky, drown or bleed to death. Finless sharks have been caught on cut bait, the only thing they can chase down.

'Severed fins are dried and used in shark-fin soup, a traditional Asian dish served to signal wealth and celebrate lofty occasions. You can buy a single whale shark fin for $15,000 in some Asian markets. A bowl of soup costs about $100, and you won’t be able to taste the fins. Basically noodles made of protein, they merely absorb the flavor of other ingredients.

'Like cats, most sharks caught commercially are apex predators. Sharks don’t reproduce much faster than cats. Their litter sizes are roughly the same; their gestation periods are comparable or longer; and they don’t reach sexual maturity as quickly. Embryos of the depleted sand tiger shark swim freely in each of two uteri, attacking and consuming siblings until only two survive. The grievously imperiled sandbar shark delivers eight or nine pups every other year. Duskies, in no better shape, are thought to reproduce every third year.'

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