Climate change has been the headlines of many scientists’ conversations over the past few decades, and the effect humans have caused on the variety of ecosystems around the world. Sharks, which have been around for 450 million years, have seen a gradual decline in the population throughout the world as the industry of finning has increased demand. Due to finning, fishermen have been catching many species of sharks to collect their fins and sell them for a high price. Once the fin is detached from the shark, the animal has already lost most of its ability to swim, and it will sink to the bottom of the ocean and die.
The Mako Shark, a species of shark found around almost every coast in the world, is being monitored for the increasing demand for their fins. Recently, a world convention of wildlife – CITES – voted to protect these endangered species. The United States and other countries were close to opposing this vote due the positive effect it’s had on the fisherman’s economy. But what effect does finning have on the environment in the first place? Does it actually hurt the environment as much as you may think? The short answer is yes.
While they may be considered a danger to many, sharks are the top predators of the oceans and without them, the water’s food chain is disrupted by human intervention. Instead of these predators dying of natural causes, other species of fish have the upper hand to attack finned sharks due their inability to swim effectively. So, a process which has been around for millions of years is now being disrupted due to people’s interest in eating their fins.
As of August 2019, the Mako shark is now considered endangered and until they aren’t, they will be monitored and protected throughout the world. According to scientists, the Mako shark will see a 50-79% decline in their population over the next 75 years – scientists have not been able to release an exact population range due to the lack of research. Although it seems this industry will ultimately fall in the next few years, the chances of fisherman switching to another species of shark is likely as countries such as China use their fins to make fin soup – a dish which shows respect to guests at weddings or special events. While Mako sharks are seen by fisherman for their commercial value, the industry must take into consideration the effect finning has caused to the food chain, and the overall impact this disruption can cause on other species of fish and the ecosystem.