Shark finning continues to threaten the existence of sharks around the world. Of the 390 known species of sharks, 110 have been classified as endangered, threatened, or vulnerable, with current findings putting 20 species at the risk of extinction by the end of this decade.
Shark fins are harvested using a brutal and inhumane method as the sharks are finned alive and dumped back into the sea to die. It is estimated that 22 million pounds of shark fins are traded every year in Hong Kong alone. This equals millions of sharks that are killed only for their fins.
Shark fin soup is a traditional dish that is usually reserved for special occasions, like weddings. But, with the blooming Chinese middle class, the growing demand for shark fin soup keeps the price high, fetching from $300 for one pound of fins. This gives the local fishermen ample motivation to continue this often illegal harvest.
Additionally, shark meat and shark bi-products including fins, is known to contain extremely high amounts of mercury which causes birth defects and cardiovascular diseases.
Southern Africa is a hotbed for shark fin fisheries and local restaurants, including Mr. Chan in Cape Town, are still serving Shark Fin Soup despite the environmental damage that this product is causing.