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Most Commonly Asked Questions


Shark Conservation


What is the practice of finning?

shark fins
Shark fins © Tobey Curtis

In most commercial fisheries shark meat is considered of low value and sharks are often discarded at sea rather than landed at port. Their fins on the other hand are worth quite a lot in the Asian shark fin soup market. This has lead a number of fishermen to cut the fins off of the sharks as they come aboard and through their bodies back over board. This way they can land the expensive fins, and save room to land more expensive fish. This practice is very wasteful and often times the sharks are finned and returned to sea while still alive, left to die.


Why should we protect sharks?

shark fins
Sharks have important ecological roles in the marine food web © Anne DuPont

Sharks are a vital component of our oceans, and feed on a wide variety of fish, shellfish and mammals. The oceans remain healthy because every organism in it is part of a complex food web. When any component of this web is removed the balance in the system is altered. Sharks are involved in several steps of this web including, feeding on the sick and dying, and feeding on larger animals such as whales, seals and tuna, which have few predators. Click here to read more about shark conservation in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean.





What impact will it have on the marine wildlife if the number of sharks keep declining in the long run?

Sharks are apex predators, the top of the food chain. If one removes species from any trophic level, there will be a trickle down effect. Since the food web is very complex, it is almost impossible to predict exactly what might occur, but it is safe to say that with loss of an apex predator, there will be noticeable ramifications.