Featured Image Credit: Environmental Defense Fund
By Sarah Sharkey
Shark populations are in trouble. And it is not a surprise that humans are the cause of their decline. One reason that sharks on the decline is that they are being hunted and finned around the world. This gruesome practice of ‘finning’ a shark leaves it dead and it is not a peaceful death. The fishermen cut off the fin and then dump the shark overboard to drown.
This destruction is fueled by the lucrative industry for shark fins. But what if these sharks are actually worth more alive than dead?
A study commissioned by Oceana found that sharks in Floridian waters are worth more alive than dead. In fact, they were found to be about 200 times more valuable alive. Researchers found that divers came to Florida in a search to see sharks and spent over $221 million in 2016. This is compared to the $1 million generated by the shark fin industry nationwide. The numbers cannot lie: sharks are more valuable alive than dead!
This study was the first of its kind in the United States and the results will hopefully make a positive impact on the shark population. Oceana is hoping that these findings will encourage lawmakers to ban the buying and selling of shark fins nationwide. The U.S. already bans the process of slicing off the fin and tossing the shark (still alive!) overboard. However, only 11 states ban the importing and selling. Oceana hopes that the ban will be nationwide soon.