Saturday, July 26, 2008

Olympic Shark Savers

The Beijing Olympics are less than two weeks away and the celebrations will undoubtedly include thousands of portions of Shark fin soup.

This dish is one of the principal causes for the global extermination of Sharks, at a staggering rate of somewhere between 40 and 100 million killed every year. As a result, the numbers of some species have dropped by as much as 80% over the last 50 years, with devastating consequences for the ecosystems they once lived in, where the food chains and the fisheries depending on them are collapsing .
A comprehensive and chilling summary of the Global threats to Sharks can be downloaded here.

Much of the trade in Sharks' fins is derived from fins cut from living Sharks; this process is called finning. Because Shark meat is worth much less, the finless and often still-living Sharks are thrown back into the sea to make room on board the ship for more of the valuable fins. When returned to the ocean, the finless Sharks, unable to move, die from suffocation.
Apart from being wasteful, the practice of Shark finning is brutal, cruel and unethical.
In case you've never seen it, you may want to watch the following clip.

Many Shark diving operators like us are trying to buck the trend via Sustainable Tourism, Habitat Protection , Education and by sponsoring Research, often with help from NGOs like in our case, the Shark Foundation and Save our Seas Foundation.
Other more powerful organizations operate mainly via media campaigns and by influencing legislation. Two of those, WildAid and Oceana have captured the occasion by airing a series of smart video clips featuring two of the best-known, and most charming American Olympic swimmers.
We say: Well Done and Good on You!

Here is Tara Kirk.

And here, Amanda Beard.

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