World Teen - Main Article
 
Signup Teachers & Parents
Fins or Food?
News Bytes 08/8/2022 4 Comments

Scary movies like Jaws turned sharks into the villains of the sea. But the tide of opinion has changed. A rising chorus demands: Save the sharks! And U.S. legislators are getting involved.

Since the 1970s, shark populations have dwindled by 71% due to overfishing. About a third of all shark species are headed toward endangerment or extinction.

Even worse, many hunters want only the fins.

In 2000, the United States made “shark finning” illegal. Despite the ban, some fishers slice off as many as 73 million shark fins every year. It’s still legal to buy and sell shark fins in the United States. Sometimes, fishers dump the shark bodies back into the water, leaving finless sharks to suffocate or bleed to death.

What drives this gruesome practice? Soup and status.

In China, shark fin soup is considered a delicacy. Delicious? Maybe. But more importantly: expensive. By eating shark fin soup, rich connoisseurs say, “Look at all my wealth!”

Activists claim this fin trade has turned as ugly as the elephant ivory trade. Recently, one Florida-based exporter was accused of labelling 5,666 pounds of shark fins as lobsters. Similar illegal fishing operations might hide behind shell companies—no seafood pun intended—and deal in other illicit products, such as drugs.

U.S. Congress now debates a federal ban on the shark fin trade, making it illegal to buy and sell even foreign-caught fins.

But will a federal ban save the sharks? Some experts think not.

Demian Chapman leads shark research at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida. According to him, the ban could backfire. China’s appetite for shark fin soup won’t go away, and other countries—countries with far less regulation—will step in to fill the demand.

“This is great,” says Chapman. “But we have to support science-based management measures that address the real problems.”

Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away. — Hosea 4:3

(Confiscated shark fins shown during a Florida news conference in 2020. AP/Wilfredo Lee)

Leave a comment
  • Keep comments on topic and related to the subject matter of the article. (Off-topic comments will be deleted.)
  • Be respectful of everyone, including other readers as well as individuals in the news stories. Disagree politely.
  • Do not post links to websites outside of WORLDteen.
  • Keep personal information such as full name, age, location, and contact information private.
  • Read your comment before posting to be sure you have typed what you wish to say in public.
Sorry you are not allowed to publish comments. If this is the first time you are seeing this message please log out and back in. If you continue to see this message and believe this to be in error please reach out to member services.

Most recent comments

This is Wyn

Poor sharks! : (

question. Why not just take

question. Why not just take the whole shark? Isnt that just wasted meat?

@Caden W

only sharks fins have the tender strands of meat that they put in basically chicken noodle soup and then call it shark fin soup (and raise the price). I have heard you can't even taste them.

@Franz R

Wow, you can't even taste it? If that's true, I wonder why people don't just buy chicken noodle soup and save money. (And sharks.)

Check out one of the interesting topics below
Explain IT!

Explain-IT trains you to understand the how’s and why’s of man-made inventions and ideas.

Learn More
Pop Smart

Pop! SMART provides tools that equip teenagers with the kinds of insights they need to wisely navigate today’s popular culture in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Learn More
Pie in the Sky

Everyone daydreams, and as it should be. Good dreams aside, our culture is a natural enemy of serenity and hope. God has equipped you for great things.

Learn More
People Mover

True stories are incredibly powerful. They bring meaning to our lives—communicating the truths we can’t afford to live without.

Learn More
Mud Room

Mud Room helps you relate to the news by exploring the details behind the stories in the headlines that relate to earth sciences.

Learn More
Globe Trek

Globe Trek will take you from the living room sofa to the mountains of Uzbekistan and from the screen of their smart phone to a Chilean plantation.

Learn More
Ka Ching!

ka-Ching! takes a look at important principles of money and economics through relatable examples from everyday life.

Learn More
Law 'N Order

Law ‘N Order captures your imagination through civics, focusing on the idea that everyone can make a difference in life.

Learn More

User login