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Demand for Shark Fin Soup Causing Decline of Blue Sharks in UK Waters

Shark fin soup is heavily consumed staple of many Asian cuisines, and it’s big business in China. While some Hong Kong Hotels like the Shang Ri La have removed it from their menus, many places still serve the dish.

According to a recent report in The Guardian, a new study has found that this demand is causing a decline of blue sharks in U.K. waters.

Sharks are usually caught as by-products in swordfish and tuna nets, which contain up to a thousand hooks and are held at depths of 100-300 meters. However, according to the new study, it is estimated that Spanish, Portuguese and Tunisian boats now deliberately catch over a million blue sharks each year. The meat is then sold to Taiwanese and Hong Kong Markets.

The lead author of the paper, Prof David Sims of the Marine Biological Association says, “The sharks are having to cross a wall of death across the continental shelf edge off the south west of the U.K. The fishermen know what they are going to be catching. Due to the reduction of target species such as tuna and swordfish, they have come to rely on blue shark and mako shark to improve the profit from each trip.”

What needs to happen is a real look into conservation efforts for these animals and a push to prevent the sale of their fins so that years down the line we aren’t mourning the loss of a great species.

Image Source: Greg Grimes/Flickr