Ban shark fin soup from menus
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“Over 70 million sharks [73 million in 2016] are killed to satisfy our enormous demand every year! Now Singapore has been identified as the world's second largest trader for shark fin. Shark fin soup has been a tradition at Chinese festive celebrations and wedding banquets. But growing demand of shark fin soup is pushing our sharks to extinction and disrupting the balance of our oceans.” WWF Singapore
Sharks are caught and killed faster than they can reproduce. In fact, scientists estimate sharks are killed, on average, 30 percent faster than they can replace themselves, and because of this, 70% of shark species are endangered and face near extinction.
One of the greatest threats facing sharks is the demand for their fins. This demand has led to the wasteful and inhumane practice of shark finning – cutting the fins off of a shark and discarding its body at sea, where it dies a slow death from drowning, bleeding to death, or even being eaten alive by other fish.
Many of these fins are used in shark fin soup, which is considered a delicacy in some Asian countries. In fact, fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the shark fin trade every year. This is especially troubling since shark populations are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Many of the species targeted for their fins tend to have long lifespans, mature slowly, and produce relatively few young, making them slow to recover from unsustainable fishing.
Once fins have been detached from the body of a shark, it is difficult to know whether they came from sharks legally caught for their meat in a sustainably managed fishery or from illegal, unmanaged and unsustainable fisheries. A national prohibition on shark fins would reduce the international fin trade, improve enforcement of the current finning ban, and perhaps most importantly, make Singapore a much needed Asian leader in shark conservation.
As predators, sharks have played a vital role in maintaining healthy oceans for hundreds of millions of years, and any decline in populations can create a domino effect of unintended consequences. Sharks were swimming in our oceans before dinosaurs walked the earth, but unless we take the necessary steps to protect them, we may be on a path toward eliminating some of these amazing predators.
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