Our ecosystems work like a clock — if you take one cog or special wheel out, the clock won’t work correctly, and, eventually, it will just stop ticking.
That’s something this new video from the creators of Racing Extinction is trying to help people understand. Just because sharks are scary and they’re buried in the depths of the ocean doesn’t mean we should kill them, and it doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. In fact, they’re extremely important.
“There’s this incredible web where we’re all connected,” Louie Psihoyos, co-founder of the Oceanic Preservation Society, says in the video. “When you start to lose these linchpin species, the environment starts to fail.”
According to Racing Extinction, between 26 and 73 million sharks are slaughtered for their fins each year, and they’re facing extinction because of us. Not only does this do great harm to the ecosystem, but the sharks are dying in horrific ways.
Shawn Heinrichs, a marine conservationist also featured in the video, says the spike in demand for shark fin is coming from a huge rise in the demand for shark fin soup. The trade is worth about $1 billion, and only a reduction in the demand will bring that number down.
Now, Racing Extinction is taking action, and we should too. Working alongside Oceana, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, Racing Extinction is trying to add Texas, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Jersey to states with a shark-fin trade ban.
You can sign a petition to support the legislation here, and learn more about how to volunteer. But also be sure to avoid shark fin soup, and try any variety of these delicious alternatives: Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup, Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup, and Warming Carrot Ginger Soup.