Ban shark fin soup in Ohio

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Global conservation is not a salient issue and this mere fact slows our progress in making meaningful effects for imperiled species abroad.  Thus, activating and motivating legislators in inland states can begin a process of local change to help address global conservation issues, like shark conservation.  This project examines how to make real and actionable change in states that are land-locked, like Ohio.  In fact, there are many issues to discuss with shark conservation and this is a reason the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has listed sharks on the Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) list.

The overall master plan of my Global Field Program work is focusing on shark conservation. While there are many issues to explore with shark conservation, one that will be discussed is shark finning. Shark Finning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is the process of removing shark fins at sea and discarding the rest of the shark overboard (NOAA, 2013).  Shark finning in the United States is a problem that needs to be addressed. Even though the physical act of shark finning is illegal in United States waters, shark fins are still bought and sold throughout the country (Vorphal, 2016). Not only in coastal states but also inland as well. The mid-western part of the United States has just as much responsibility in protecting shark species as do inhabitants of the coast. Currently, only twelve of the fifty states have banned shark finning (Pfleger, 2017). Unfortunately, that means thirty-eight states have yet to do so. One of these states that has yet to ban shark finning is Ohio. According to National Geographic, 100 million sharks are killed per year, 273,000 per day, and 11 thousand sharks are killed per hour for their fins (Vance, 2016).

            A major driving force behind the decline in shark populations over the past decades is due to shark fin soup. This soup is very popular in many Asian countries and can cost as much as $150 a bowl. This soup is generally served at weddings and celebrations. Hong Kong, China, is renowned as the leader in shark fin soup consumption and trade (Mahr, 2010). Even though it’s more prevalent in Asian countries, shark fin soup is still found in abundance in the United States and other countries as well. Amanda Morgan, shark biologist from Australia, has created a “fin free” logo that restaurants from around the world are adopting to let consumers know they do not serve shark fin soup (Bowling, 2016). Below is the logo that Morgan created.

Engaging community members is what ultimately drew me to the Global Field Program. Taking action is such a critical component of conservation. We can talk all that we want…but until we put words into action then we can truly make a difference. To engage the community of Ohio, all 11,658,609 of them (U.S. Census bureau), I will be incorporating the technology of facebook live and an online petition forum called change.org.

“Sharks have everything a scientist dreams of. They're beautiful―God, how beautiful they are! They're like an impossibly perfect piece of machinery. They're as graceful as any bird. They're as mysterious as any animal on earth. No one knows for sure how long they live or what impulses―except for hunger―they respond to. There are more than two hundred and fifty species of shark, and everyone is different from every other one.” Peter Benchley, Jaws.

 



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