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100 Million Sharks Killed Every Year, Study Shows On Eve of International Conference on Shark Protection

One of the most comprehensive studies ever compiled on illegal shark killing brings new startling statistics. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year around the world, a number that far exceeds what many populations need to recover.

The statistical report, compiled by researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, crunched numbers of reported shark catches globally and used data from nearly 100 former papers to estimate the number of unreported shark deaths every year. In a moving range, the researchers were able to calculate that between 6.4% and 7.9% of sharks of all species are killed annually.

Hammerhead shark

Hammerhead sharks are particularly at risk. Photo by Jim Abernaty / Pew Environment Group

To put that range in perspective, researchers analyzed life data from 62 shark species and found that only 4.9% of sharks can be killed each year to maintain population stability. Anything more than that threatens long term survival of species like the oceanic white tip, porbeagle and several kinds of hammerheads. What’s worse, sharks are considered uniquely vulnerable because they take long periods to mature and generally produce few young over their lifetimes.

Photo by Shawn Heinrichs / Pew Environment Group

Photo by Shawn Heinrichs / Pew Environment Group

The culprit is the proliferation of illegal shark finning that spiked in the 1990s to feed appetites for shark fin soup, a delicacy in parts of Asia on par with fine truffles or expensive caviar. According to some reports, a bowl of shark fin soup can sell for as much as $100.

While some sharks are allowed to be caught, illegal shark finning occurs when fisherman cut fins off live sharks and dump their bodies into the open ocean to avoid declaring the full animal at port and surpassing fishing quotas.

“There’s a staggering number of sharks being caught every year and the number is way too high considering the biology of species,” says Dalhousie biologist Boris Worm, the study’s lead researcher. The 100 million sharks was actually a conservative estimate. Worm’s team found the number could be as high as 273 million sharks killed each year.

To combat such numbers, most countries have authority to regulate around their own coastlines and the catches brought into their ports. But pressure has grown over the past few years for the Conference on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to regulate international trade of the most imperiled species. As recently as 2010, CITES officials denied meaningful protections to sharks. But after a United Nations panel recommended earlier this year that governments get serious, CITES officials will meet this week in Bangkok to consider finally phasing in protections.

Comments

  1. Obedaea
    March 31, 6:41 am

    The plight of endangered terrestrials will pale into insignificance, in comparison, as humans struggle with their own survival, assuming that pesticidal contamination of the auto neurone cortex prevents enlightenment ( I don’t bee leave it you silly moo) and genetic modification paramounts its presence in dominance. Artificial fluoridation will further add its contribution to human deformation. Human, should I be so naive, life. Why not detonate the 21000 nuclear warheads of the old Soviet Union and the 19000 U.S., since we only require 16000 to nuke the planet, no need,therefore, to concern ourselves about an Iranian threat. A drastic solution, perhaps, in eradicating Earth’s most cancerous malignancy – homo sapiens.There is hope though. the use of microwave oven frequencies for cell phones will, soon, produce cabbages that may solve our food shortage crisis and why not accelerate this process by sleeping next to wireless internet routers, especially newborns. The result could lead to the formation of a more sinister creature. Forgive them Lord, for they know what what they do.

  2. Joris
    March 22, 2:02 pm

    could it be the absense of predators is causing a collapse in the food chain ? That overfishing is just the tipping point drop ?

  3. david cloutier smith
    world traveler now in spain
    March 21, 2:31 pm

    k people of earth,, lets think outside the box,, you all sound like ignorant pig people,, WHETHER WE UNDERSTAND IT OR NOT THE UNIVERSE IS UNFOLDING AS IT SHOULD, and god,, whatever you conceive him to be,, has seen that we are living on this earth,, by darwins theory ,, and the unfolding of our specie,, we were told for 8000 years now that we have dominion over the fish and birds and critters nd gardens,,so we have used them for pleasure, work, food and every concieveable thing,, now god evidently did not think we would overpopulate th earth,, he sent diseases etc but we survive like some unkillable insect,,i believe that we will destroy the earth and it will not be habilable for humans very soon,, and that is all right,, we are supposed to be involved in SPIRITUAL VOLUTION,, there are billions of planets like our and god is experimenting with all of them,, using free will, so do not cry you egotistical greedy narcistic people,, you will soon perish and whatever love and beauty you produced and created will survive in gods kingdom for he is the power and the glory and the kindom forever,,, we are small tiny pieces in the unending universe and do not realize,, we can create beauty and enjoy gods creations and truth or become so much pig shit like most of us turn out to be,,, blame only yourselves,,, as for me I will be in a different dimension in the presence of my god….david cloutier smith

  4. Enaess
    Norway, Oslo
    March 3, 12:40 am

    Holy crap that wall of text i wrote is so full of typos im embarassed. I wrote it in haste because i was on my way out. Cant find an edit button to sort out all the typos and make myselfe look like less of an idiot. Is there such a function here on this site so that i can spellcheck and rephrase several agruments and sentences so that they actually make sense and do not look like they are written by an illiterate 10 year old?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Enaess
    Norway, Oslo
    March 2, 11:20 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzUE4D8j4uQ

    Greatest shark documentary ever made. Mike Rutzen freediving with huge great whites showing us that Spielbergs portrayal in jaws and susequent sequels that generated so much for for these animals(fish) was complete rubbish and he must take responsibilit for sharks (great whites) being on the verge of extinction.

    Steven Spielberg has largely contributed to the view people have of sharks, and those who have continued the franchise Jaws. But it is Spielberg who sits as exdectuive producer and scoops the most revenue . They are extremely misunderstood animals/fish and there are people who make calculated risks even though they look like turtles when they lie on their surfboards . (natural food for sharks )
    Spielberg said in his time that he NEVER wanted to make a film adaptation of aliens as hostile towards earth. The promise was broken when he made ​​a crap movie with Tom Cruise just to collect that money with hostile aliens who would take over the earth and its resources.

    Without adequate amounts of sharks of various species in different oceans around the planet who are predators in the ocean ecosystem, it will go under and be completely filled with fish and other things shark eats who in turn eat coral and other bacteria . Without sharks it is impossible to have sustainable oceans .

    It is nothing like Jaws where sharks have intelligence as ingelligente mammals ( Read , dolphins and whales ) and chase people like a predator . They are curious, terrified and flee . It has NEVER beena case in beach areas that the same man/woman has been attacked by the same shark more than once .
    The exception is when there have been people in the middle of the ocean after the sinking of the ship for days, or diving accidents where the vessels leave divers behind accidentally. Leaving them for several days without realizing it. Then hungry sharks have been documented to show up . But the myth that there are white sharks of 10-15 meters ( monsters ) that destroy boats, sink them and are aggressive toward humans is so ridiculous and trite that I have no words. Hope Spielberg is ashamed of what he has contributed to cause such fright and hostility towards these beautiful animals, one of the most essential fish species in the ocean to hosiery marine ecosystem and the natural sustainability.

    To begin to discuss how the cycle on how Japanese fishing industry operates with cutting the sharks fins and then dump them alive into the sea again so that they sink to the bottom and die so that rich people can enjoy shark fin soup makes me so angry that I will not even go into that . Many scientists believe that sharks , which practically never gets hit by disease is the cure to cancer and alzheimer – etc. .

    They’ve probably driven a f* bulldozer over any plant or flowers etc. which was the riddle to cure cancer / HIV / AIDS , etc. in rain forests long ago as they demolish the rainforest equivalent to 10 football fields a minute daily. There are ocean we must put our trust in now to find cures for diseases that are currently uncurable unless a miracle happens and they find something in the rain forest that has not been destroyed by greedy capitalist bastards and / or burned down.

    As one can see from the clip, it shows white shark show no aggressive tendencies towards scuba divers but are just curious (and alert/scared )

    5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GREAT WHITE SHARKS

    1 Great whites do not like how we taste. They prefer the energy dense blubber of seals and sea lions . Their teeth have special nerve endings that can detect the calorie -rich blubber – the only problem is sharks sample bite to work this out .

    2 They have six Highly Developed senses : sight , smell , touch, taste, hearing and electromagnetism . Through electromagnetism they can navigate the ocean by follo wing an electrical map of the earth ‘s magnetic fields .

    3 Great whites do not like to fight for food. If there ‘s only enough food for one , the sharks will swim past one another and slap their tails on the surface of the water , directing the spray towards the other shark . The shark that delivers the most slaps wins dinner .

    4 Sharks are one of evolution ‘s greatest success stories . Older than dinosaurs , their ancestry dates as far back as 400 million years .

    5 75-100 million sharks are killed each year . The demand for shark fins (for soup ) has soared in the past 15 years with great whites one of the dish ‘s many victims . Scientists at Stanford University believe there could be as few as 3,500 great whites left in the oceans

  6. Obedaea
    GB
    March 1, 3:38 am

    The police of the sea are being slaughtered to satisfy the gastronomic needs of the ignorant. Other oceanic species can now proliferate to cause an imbalance. Plankton variation has occurred to an extent that El Ninio’s influence is wreaking a wrath of destruction as it alters gulf stream patterns. The damage caused may be irreversible and lead to devastating consequences for the whole of mankind,

  7. Kickers
    us
    February 28, 8:09 pm

    I think that they shouldn’t kill sharks because they are special to us and what if we run out of sharks, it is all asian’s fault. PS, I am an asian, but I live in America

  8. Bruce
    P. Sherman 42 Walabe Way, Sydney, AU
    February 18, 8:56 am

    Fish are friends, not food.

  9. polanski
    USA
    February 2, 11:16 pm

    Stone’s Linkedin profile indicates that he has a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University.

  10. izzy
    Cicero
    January 31, 10:23 am

    i wpould like to know if the writer of this articile does not just have a degree in writing. Do you Dan Stone have any qualiications with marine biology.

  11. Old Man of the Sea
    USA
    January 30, 12:51 pm

    I know we have some spare submarines, we should start patrolling the waters and sinking any ship that over-fishes, fins sharks or kills whales. This is the only way to get people to stop. Every other method we’ve tried just get ignored.

  12. Guss
    January 29, 5:37 pm

    With those estimates every year, are there even 100 million sharks left today?

  13. Chauncey
    Stateside
    January 29, 2:27 pm

    It is disturbing the number of sharks being killed and how some of them are killed. But suggesting that humans should be murdered and tortured over this is beyond absurd. These are just animals we’re talking about. No animal’s life is more valuable than a human’s life.

  14. Wake Up Call
    The South
    January 29, 11:28 am

    Relying on Asian governments to do something about this is a joke. Their government officials are the ones sitting in restaurants enjoying their expensive soup! Most Asians care nothing for animals or animal welfare. They are like locust, who will consume and consume until they destroy the world (and of course, when their ability to sustain their lifestyle dwindles, I am sure they will be crying for resources from the western world).

  15. izzy
    Cicero, NY USA
    January 29, 10:14 am

    Who wrote this aticle? I would like to know.

  16. Jo
    Spangle, WA USA
    January 26, 10:36 pm

    Hello Dan Stone, can you tell us how accurate the numbers are? Can you provide a link to the source of the information? 100,000,000? That’s just unbelievable. Thanks – Jon

  17. Chester
    France
    January 25, 1:27 pm

    It’s a shame that a shark slaughter is occurring, but these numbers are pure fantasyland gibberish. 100,000,000?! Nonsense. Almost 9% of the shark population is killed every year? For how long has this been going on? Seems to me, it would take about five years before the numbers collapsed at that rate. All the shark fisherman in the world would be out of business in 8-10 years.

    These numbers are just dumb on their face. Typical internet silliness, trying to whip people up into a frothy stew.

    I assume the problem is pretty nasty, there’s no need to exaggerate it to the point of lunacy.

  18. Anon
    USA
    January 25, 3:04 am

    It would be great if people would learn how to properly state there opinions and not make it a horrid read. I understand that this is terrible and things should be done about it, but the whole circle of life and not killing them is ridiculous, we didn’t get to dominate the food chain by not killing predators. Now that it is a different day and age, Things do need to happen, but the simple fact that people think it’s just so easy to not kill something is mind boggling. We are humans. We are carnivores, whether you chose to be a vegan, vegetarian or whatever else there is, you are but a small portion of the spectrum and if a catastrophe were to happen and supplements and medications that are on the market for people such as yourself, you would die off just as the rest because our bodies need that. Now back to this. We shouldn’t kill what we don’t need. Finning is terrible and a stupid loop hole. Run around and cut the dicks off of all the men but hide the bodies and you’re good. Way to go humanity…

  19. bob
    usa
    January 20, 5:38 pm

    well this is sad

  20. Danny
    canada ontairo
    January 19, 2:23 am

    i fell bad for them bacause it such a waste and cows and pigs and chickens have much more use then just fins and chickens reproduce muhc quicker then sharks so the wester side of the world is much smarter on what we eat were not perfect but killing rhinos for horns your just stupid and killing dolphins and capturing them WTF is wrong with the other side of the earth

  21. hailey
    marysville
    December 13, 2013, 10:38 pm

    sharks should not be killed there part of our world there in the circle of life and they are part of the sea and we are going to do in our power to help sharks survive and what would you do if you were the shark I would try to get away and swim as fast as I can thenk who all agree with me

  22. flower
    chicago
    November 1, 2013, 10:02 pm

    sharks should not be killed beacause they are part of the water system and then people will not want to enjoy water

  23. Ali Rohman
    SINTANG CITY
    October 4, 2013, 12:36 pm

    hai good night…
    nice to meet yo guys…
    WOW,, like this,,
    panorama…

  24. commaonds
    libya
    October 3, 2013, 7:13 pm

    ……………

  25. Justine
    Manila
    September 28, 2013, 1:44 pm

    Little by little, we can spread awareness to people by telling them what are the reasons why sharks fin are so in demand. Maybe if they knew that Shumai or Siomai(as it is known in our country) are sold to people not just with pork, fish, beef or shrimp fillings but there is now a “shark’s fin” shumai!
    I am one of those people who does not know where these SHARKS FIN SIOMAI came from. once, out of my curiosity, I tasted one and it was terrible! It doesn’t even have any good taste! it tasted bland! you can literally can’t taste anything from it!
    Because of this, I started to research about Sharks fin on how they are collected. When i saw a video of chef Gordon Ramsay in Costa Rica. Just like him, I was so disgusted of all the sharks fin that were laid under the sun. I could not believe that people could do so much damage to animals just so they could have a lot of money.
    It’s really sad to see how people spend so much time doing a lot of killing for money :(((((((

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r65FgUYdBOc

    please see this video and the comments of EnjoyableApps before you annihilate every single shark in our planet

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shark_fin_trading_in_Costa_Rica

    another link for those who are still blinded by their selfishness. I hope you will be enlightened…

  26. Stephen S
    united states
    September 13, 2013, 1:13 am

    Anyone who is ignorant enough to say we need to kill all sharks to make the ocean better deserves nothing more to have there whole family killed and then have there genitals removed. They don’t need to reproduce.

  27. -
    Australia
    September 12, 2013, 3:58 am

    It bothers me, that so many people still believe that sharks are the problem.
    Take humans out of the equation all together. They are swimming around, doing their thing, eating fish, dolphins and seals, I dunno.

    Man comes around.

    Man dresses in a black stinger suit or wetsuit.
    Man then decides to swim in the ocean (The shark’s natural home and habitat) and there might be an attack once every year or more.
    We then take sharks to be the bad ‘guy’ in the situation.
    When we basically suited ourselves to look like a dolphin or a seal, and then invaded THEIR home. It might sound stupid, but I’m just trying to be realistic here.

    As for the shark fin soup or whatever else it is used for, that’s just absurd. It is nothing more than human greed and sheer inconsideration for these animals.
    I’m no animals rights person, although it might sound like it, but some of the people in this world need to take a look at the bigger picture here. What would you be saying if they had the power to cull us, and chop off our legs?
    Hmm..

  28. Skye
    August 31, 2013, 12:42 pm

    Understand the ecosystem, then, you’d understand why we should lived in harmony with the living creatures. They die, we die too. I am Chinese, it is in our tradition to eat sharks fin soup every occasion. But, i am 5 years shark-free. My family also respects that. That is why we don’t take part in that tradition anymore.

  29. Milos
    Los Angeles
    August 6, 2013, 9:39 pm

    Get rid of them all, the food chain will take care of itself, as it ALWAYS DOES, quite adaquately!

  30. Tami
    USA
    August 5, 2013, 1:21 am

    What kills more people in this world? Is very easy To answer that question , Sharks may kill one person every 2 o 3 years. But people kill people for thousand every day.and also ignorance is a very dangerous weapon (.like the first commentary Who use the name ocean?……)

  31. Killallsharks
    THE OCEAN
    July 12, 2013, 9:05 am

    Please Kill them all – then we don’t have to worry about it anymore. Ignorant animal loving humans who love animals more than a precious human life, need to wake up and realize that no animal is more important than a human. Kill the sharks then our oceans will be better for swimming.

  32. Johann kirsten
    Manila
    July 8, 2013, 9:23 am

    Lets legalize eating shark. But, in order to be deemed legal you are required to kill the shark. In a giant tank. Wearing a snorkel and yielding a knife. If you want to eat it and be at the top of the food chain, earn it. If not, respect it, or else…

  33. marisol
    usa
    July 4, 2013, 8:40 pm

    i really want this to stop. We should do something about this. me and my friends are making posters to hang around school of what they do to sharks and what we should do to stop them.

  34. Avah Cheek
    North Carolina
    April 1, 2013, 2:07 pm

    I think no one should be able to kill a shark. Because if all the sharks die it will mess up the food chain. Most people think sharks are maneaters but they are not. More people get killed by snakes than by sharks. It`s like this on person is no better than any one else. Sharks are part of are world and we need to take care of them.

  35. Canuck12
    Canada
    March 31, 2013, 1:56 pm

    These numbers include farmed tuna, which amazingly is the bulk of the 100 million.

  36. Jonathan
    Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
    March 14, 2013, 8:56 am

    Wrote this article about shark finning and the new Cites protection:

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/29567/shark-fin-soup-species-get-global-protection

  37. JOSE
    EL SALVADOR
    March 13, 2013, 11:42 am

    SHAME ON YOU FISHERMEN.

  38. HONKSHEW
    March 13, 2013, 10:23 am

    there is no way that there are even 200 million sharks in the ocean!

  39. Mai
    March 11, 2013, 6:21 pm

    So we invade THIER homes and murder them… Hmm.. What does that make us!!! And cutting off their fins ALIVE!! How terribly inhumane!!! Not to mention the ecological disaster we are creating by killing off all the sharks.

  40. Craig Thomson
    Edinburgh
    March 9, 2013, 8:53 am

    Just like the poor rhinos and the Asian demand for the ivory and horns. Animal Genocide !!:’(

  41. Craig Thomson
    Edinburgh
    March 9, 2013, 8:50 am

    Totally disgusting GGGRRRRRRRR!!!!!!:O:-(

  42. Claudio
    ITALY
    March 7, 2013, 5:31 pm

    I can’t believe it ! A tragedy.

  43. Rajawali
    Indonesia
    March 7, 2013, 6:49 am

    Dan Stone stated : “a delicacy in some parts of Asia”. Why don’t we just be blunt, it is the Chinese people who are the reason for the slaughter ! Go to Hongkong and look ! Yes, shark fins are also available in other parts of Asia, but the consumers are invariably ethnic Chinese.

  44. davinci
    spain
    March 5, 2013, 2:57 am

    united nations need to have enough authority and force power to stop irresponsible practises like this at once. Otherwise we are about to extinguise ourselves in short. There is no more gods than the universe itself and our planet and nature life.. Which is far more capable of develope any survival mechanism to protect itself from the more dangerous animal…the human kind.

  45. Antonio
    sicilia
    March 5, 2013, 1:22 am

    dovrebbero tagliarle a loro, le gambe o le braccia !!!!!..

  46. Jeanette
    Canada
    March 4, 2013, 7:16 pm

    Unbelievable-this is just horrifying. Our planet needs sharks to keep our oceans disease free and ecological balanced. Oceans cannot survive without sharks-but why is noone regulating this?

  47. ilir
    london
    March 4, 2013, 5:55 pm

    cursed be they who are cursed human that disaster

  48. Hamed
    United Kingdom
    March 4, 2013, 5:19 pm

    I was struck also by the 100 million, however; someone send me this footage of one day catch in Dubai Fish Market then I realized that 100 million could be a tip of an ice berg …. literately

  49. dominic
    March 4, 2013, 12:34 pm

    These things are so vile they defy description. If they fed this to a prisoner it would be considered torture. I have seen the finished product in a small Mexican village many years ago. It’s vile, like a horrific,rotting fish. Reminds me of those putrid smelling fruits that are all over Thailand that the ‘Asians’ seem to love so much. Just vile.

  50. SA Ranger
    South Africa
    March 4, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Never heard of a Chinese called Joe Smith (张三).
    Nice try buddy.

  51. SA Ranger
    South Africa
    March 4, 2013, 11:55 am

    KT, I agree with you that Aero might have gone over the top a little, I myself might have, but you have to admit that people from certain countries just cause problems wherever they go. Whether it’s their culture, lack of respect for nature and conservation, or just pure brutality with no conscience, who knows, maybe Mr 张三 can educate us about the reason.

    Take the Nigerians for example, wherever there is a case of drug distribution, human trafficking, prostitution or people being scammed out of their hard earned money, Nigerians are the cause 9 out of 10 times, not always, but 90% of the time.

    The same can be said about China, not all Chinese are bad, but 90% of the time when Rino’s, Elephants, Abalone and sharks are poached, the Chinese has a hand in process somewhere, whether it’s the market they created for that trade or the people using or consuming that substance, China and some other Asian countries are to blame.

  52. KT
    Canada
    March 4, 2013, 9:33 am

    In reply to Aero “I laughed at the tsunami, I toasted the Japan earthquake. “, you are a stupid racist idiot. I understand that Asia has some weird habit and tradition that are very harmful to the environment, but to quickly blame everything in that part of the world while America is slauthering cows, beef, chicken and pork in a awful inhuman way is not any different. Unless you are a Vegan that only buy locally and pro-environementalist, you are no better then anybody else. Before making comments like that, please reflect on yourself first to see if you are any better or just some racist hypocrite prick that are also destroying this beautiful planet as much as the rest of the human race.

  53. 张三
    中国
    March 4, 2013, 6:55 am

    对大多数普通中国人来说,鱼翅象牙这种东西,和他们的生活并没多大关系。科学未普及的过去,大多数中国人认为鱼翅是一种营养丰富的补品,当然类似的还有犀角,熊胆,熊掌,虎骨这大多是因为这些部位最能彰显相应动物气质,而人们想当然的认为这些部分集中了这些动物生命的“精华”,再加上过去只能通过打猎从动物身上取得这些材料,物以稀为贵,导致对这些食材的滋补功效越来越神话。要去除这些“传统文化”中的糟粕的困难程度堪比大革命。好消息是,保护自然的思想已经在越来越多的人心中扎根,但坏消息是这种和谐的思想似乎对那些一直在破坏自然的家伙们没起到什么作用,他们的思想依旧停留在“未开化”的状态,或者是把食用这些来自动物身上的东西当做身份地位的象征,他们才是最难搞定的。
    Dear Ju, Do not put tags on China in that irresponsible way.What you put in your comment is just a small bit of the overall image of China,the ugly, shame bits,and I also doubt the truth or accuracy of what the western media’s tags on China.Enlarge other country’s stain to balance domestic contradictions is such an easy political trick isn’t it ?
    You guys can know China better if you know a little Chinese.We Chinese can read in English,but you guys can’t read Chinese…It’s kind of unfair to you…

  54. Ronnie Morton
    United States
    March 4, 2013, 4:38 am

    GOD put these creatures in our oceans to maintain the balance of nature, such as carcasses or overpopulation of some species, not to create a delicacy for humans. Sharks are ancient and have been here for hundreds of thousands of years before us. I say live and let live. It’s their ocean we just use it, but use it wisely! Without predators we have no ocean!

  55. Mira bella Luz
    USA
    March 3, 2013, 11:57 pm

    Smoke and the image appears. The thesis being examined has a clear definition. Relativity and location and nourishment with great Defense.
    How can sharks be @risk when they are in protected regions am iong their species?
    No one should scrap a beautiful creature only through ability. Cousteau figured out that if one would place lobster in an endangered region, among an expanded population of algae eating urchins, that balance could be restored in order to preserve the Oceans.

  56. Jack Trevally
    Columbia Missouri
    March 3, 2013, 10:33 pm

    @ Kurt Sipolski No, it isn’t that simple. For one thing, unlike many species of bony fish, sharks don’t reproduce by making “caviar”. In other words they don’t lay eggs. Sharks actually mate; they copulate. This becomes a real problem when populations become so over-fished that individuals can’t find a mate. Also unlike most bony fish, they only produce a few young at a time. Spawning teleost fish may produce thousands or millions of fry, but a pregnant female shark might only give birth to a few or a few dozen baby sharks. And with the baby sharks comes another problem, because they too are being fished, before they even reach reproductive age. This reduces the population renewal rate still further.

  57. Danish
    Mauritius
    March 3, 2013, 7:38 pm

    Where did nature go wrong to have such unbalance equation.Our Dodo has gone the same way and it seem the extinction process has already begun for some leaving creatures.How can this be stop?
    We need to revisit the option left?

  58. Rose
    March 3, 2013, 9:41 am

    No respect for the top predator in the ocean, highly evolved, advanced, and ancient. That can NOT end well. How can we be so selfish? It seems we are on the road to kill and poison everything and when its all said and done people will still say “What how did this happen?!” Maybe if we stressed the environment more in schools there would be more awareness. I don’t remember being educated much about the natural world in school. Or maybe its just that no matter what most humans just don’t care about future generations and are so out of tune with nature

  59. Jordain de Lamp
    Volga Bulgaria
    March 3, 2013, 2:57 am

    sharks are a menace and a pest and i taek the time to kill them and their child when fishing

  60. Ju
    US
    March 2, 2013, 11:34 am

    The main culprit is China.
    Counterfeiting: China
    Tusks Poaching: China
    Currency Manipulation: China
    Intellectual Property Thieving: China
    Digital Piracy: China
    Hacking: China
    Air pollution: China

    So what else is new? They are destroying the future of this world now. It is a bleak scenario if nobody can stop this tearing apart of the world.

  61. gene
    nyc
    March 2, 2013, 9:57 am

    I absolutely agree with “Angry”, killing such fishermen outright would be an excellent use of armed drones with IA target recognition and engagement software. Recognise shark shape being pulled into a boat? Eat heallfire. “John” is right – this is terrorism aganst the whole earth. Humanity posesses the technical means do deal with this right now. It will not be the first time military technology flows to civilian world from Pentagon.

  62. SA Ranger
    South Africa
    March 2, 2013, 5:29 am

    Yea, for some reason, the Asian countries has no respect for wild life and conservation in general. It’s unfortunate that Asia is the natural habitat to the bangel Tiger. Don’t see much hope for that poor specie.

    At the moment we have a major problem conserving our Rino population because of poaching due to the Tai, and other Asian countries, demand in Rino horns. We’re losing over 400 Rino’s a year and with a total population of only about 1600 Black Rino’s, one loss is one to many.
    I can’t understand how civilized Asian countries can be so idiotic to think that keratin, (the main substance in rino horn, the same substance found in human hair and finger nails) can cure cancer and increase your libido. If these barbaric idiots can only realize that, they can start sniffing human hair instead of killing our precious African heritage.
    But with Rino horn being worth more that gold, we’ll never be able to stop poaching.

    Other than that, China has created a market in Mozambique for shark fins and char coal. They actually supplied the locals, at no cost, with fishing boats and long lines in order to catch sharks.

    In South Africa, we’re also having problems with Chinese poaching abalone from our shorelines.
    What will happen one day when there is nothing left, when our children will only be able to see these precious animals in books and video material?

    One day we’ll all wake up and realize what a plague Asia is to the world.

  63. Aero
    United States
    March 2, 2013, 2:12 am

    Sharks, dolphins, whales, blue fin tuna….is anyone EVER going to just come out and say hey Asian’s, knock this crap off or make them pay for it? Their “culture” more then any others in the world, deplete resources. Most of the illegally harvested wood form the rain forest goes to…wait for it….ASIA. I laughed at the tsunami, I toasted the Japan earthquake. They deserved it, and much more

  64. Darren OShea
    East Coast USA
    March 1, 2013, 8:33 pm

    This is proof positive that the human race was a bad idea. We’re nothing more than mindless killers. Murder for profit.

  65. Mia FORREST
    Australia
    March 1, 2013, 7:59 pm

    Hi Robert Alexander,

    I think your suggestion to buy advertising space is very poignant, and that is just what “Get Up” in Australia have been for several issues that go largely ignored by politicians here. And it works!

  66. M. Leybra
    March 1, 2013, 7:38 pm

    Where’s all the “scientists” studying the effects of loss of sharks on ocean biodiversity? Oh … they’re supposedly studying biodiversity 4 mi below the ocean bottom around New Zealand, considering prospects for deep-sea mining.

  67. steagle
    Los Angeles, CA
    March 1, 2013, 7:21 pm

    This is an extremely disturbing statistic that probably isn’t even close to the actual number of shark killed for senseless reasons. I truly hope that the people responsible for these crimes have something terrible happen to them. Imagine if someone kidnapped you, cut your arms off, and then let you go with no medical treatment. That is exactly what they’re doing to sharks, who cannot swim without their top fins and eventually sink to the bottom of the ocean to die a protracted and extremely tormenting death. All so some ignorant person can sample a “delicacy” ? This is outrageous human behavior. Asian countries really need to get their act together regarding treatment of animals in general. I shudder to think what the numbers of killed cats, dogs and other companion animals are every year by the Asian community.

  68. bizjet
    Eastern US
    March 1, 2013, 7:05 pm

    Let me see if i got this right one small overpopulated part of the world eats alot of sharks and the rest of the world a little bit. But the math doesn`t add up 100 million a year is according to my calculator 284,090 every day 352 days a year. The sea would be awash in carcass and where would you get all the boats to process that much shark Just thinking

  69. Sramjet
    US
    March 1, 2013, 7:03 pm

    The irresponsibility of some individuals should not be so surprising. We are destroying this planet at such an alarming rate!

  70. Thom
    Gainesville, Fl
    March 1, 2013, 6:56 pm

    And people say sharks are dangerous.

  71. Moonworm
    Middle Georgia
    March 1, 2013, 6:54 pm

    I am encouraged to hear so much outrage within these comments. Asking whether people are more important than animals is like asking whether the lungs are more important than the liver. Even absent moral considerations about decimating a species, the Earth functions in intricate and poorly-understood balance which we humans are upsetting with frightening speed and unpredictable consequences. To blithely assume that our planet will continue to right itself in the face of accelerating change is to shamelessly risk everything for a lousy bowl of soup.

  72. Kurt Sipolski
    CA
    March 1, 2013, 6:52 pm

    Isn’t it the easiest thing in the world to grow fish? Can’t we just block off 1000 sq miles, throw in caviar from 100 different species, and replenish with food and shelter? Don’t take this wrong..this is an honest question.

  73. BN
    US
    March 1, 2013, 6:51 pm

    100 Million? So let me get this straight…approximately 273,972 times EVERY SINGLE DAY, a fisherman somewhere in the world pulls a shark out of the water and cuts off its fins? Um-hmm.

  74. Wiffle
    March 1, 2013, 6:49 pm

    I don’t mean to be racist, but why is it that Asia has all these stupid remedies, foods, and medicines that haven’t ever been proven to work?

  75. Sciguybm
    Seattle USA
    March 1, 2013, 6:45 pm

    As global populations grow and the need to provide for one or one’s family exists, the idea that laws, especially international laws, will have an impact on native cultural tendencies is childish at best, ignorant at worst.
    Money really does make the world go round. As long as there is money involved, laws will be ignored/broken. Risk is general: a fisherman in Indonesia rarely sees a law enforcement agent, never sees government enforcement and will never, ever see UN or international law enforcement. For him: those are nebulous terms with no reality.
    The truth is; we will never be able to curb these cultural issues. The truth is; we are spiraling into a black-hole of existence. Realty? Life consumes life. Life chokes and dies on its wastes, life ebbs and flows, rises and falls on the changes it makes to its environment. We humans, ego aside, are no different. If there is a difference it is that we can see it coming. And still will do as we do.
    Sad, no?

  76. Ecinaj Renreok
    US
    March 1, 2013, 6:44 pm

    One fears it is hopeless…way too many of us and multiplying geometrically while everything else living on this planet is driven to extinction. The human species still does not understand that it is part of nature, not the ruler, and nature will control – physics and biology as always.

  77. Pat
    SF
    March 1, 2013, 6:43 pm

    Bill (6:13 pm) – there’s something you don’t understand. Sharks play a vital role in the health of the oceans. Something as big as the oceans gets sick, the consequences for humans could be catastrophic. It’s a simple matter of self-preservation.

  78. El
    March 1, 2013, 6:39 pm

    Angry, you really need to do these animal species a favor, please join the voluntary human extinction movement immediately! See http://www.vhemt.org/ for details! In fact, I would more than happy to supply you with all the tools you need to off yourself…

  79. El
    USA
    March 1, 2013, 6:36 pm

    Trade-offs.

    Aren’t most of these sharks predators? To some extent, doesn’t reducing the population of sharks help to restock the populations of fish on which these sharks feed (and which humans are competing with the sharks to consume)? Hunting species to extinction is a tragedy that should be avoided at all costs. But at some point, shouldn’t shark lovers admit that we are in fact in competition with many species of shark for food? (Yes, I know there are species like the whale shark that are NOT competing with us for food and therefore should be left alone by the argument I am proposing.)

  80. Burt Biggins
    New York New York
    March 1, 2013, 6:36 pm

    I like “Angry”s idea.

  81. domaho
    california
    March 1, 2013, 6:36 pm

    where in the earth you come up this 100 million shark killed? how reliable is this figure and where did you take this far finch and outrageous lying information? are you one of those animal rights along with the green peace movement? i love shark fins soup just as you love beef and chicken. so why don’t you back off this misinformation and incite your stupidity doom day scenario to the bear. go back to cave live. let the bear take care your worry. gooooo bear!!!!!!!!

  82. Robert Alexander
    United States
    March 1, 2013, 6:31 pm

    Why not start a not-for-profit or NGO with the sole mission of buying advertising time on Asian television stations? Use Asian creative ad agencies to develop local and regional commercials that have an impact on behavior by linking the eating of shark fins with reduced fisheries and other economic impacts eventually (and hopefully) making it an embarrassment to eat.

  83. rgd
    March 1, 2013, 6:24 pm

    Seems a little strange that the name “China” was not mentioned once in this article. “Parts of Asia”? Is there any other country where it is nearly as popular as in China?

  84. TONYOR
    LOS ANGELES
    March 1, 2013, 6:22 pm

    Illuminating and tragic report!
    Until such time as we are prepared to put our money alongside our principles, this form of Eco-terrorism will unfortunately continue. We should not be conducting business or trade with such countries. We (mankind) are the custodians of this planet and responsible for the protection of the eco-system and the species that reside here and yet, we behave like locusts.

  85. Bill
    US
    March 1, 2013, 6:13 pm

    Sure we should help the sharks. But Angry is one of those who think animals are better and more important than people….a diluted view of the world.

  86. Dan Stone
    March 1, 2013, 5:51 pm

    Thanks for all the comments here. The thought from “Angry” in California gets at an important point: we can regulate fin trading, but the bigger problem might be convincing people to stop eating fin soup altogether, thus eliminating the demand. That’s a much harder puzzle to solve. But if solved, a much more lasting solution.

    Dan Stone

  87. Rick
    USA
    March 1, 2013, 5:50 pm

    Shark steaks should be illegal. Shark is natures garbagemen, get rid of them and what happens to the oceans, havoc.
    And those crazy chinese men who are impotent should just pop a viagra and quit eating shark fin soup.

  88. Angry
    California
    March 1, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Let’s stop beating around the bush…and start shooting the fishermen AND the pathetic wimps that eat sharks fin soup…we will never run out of people…people who in general just consume voraciously and endlessly, adding nothing to the ecosystem and specifically unconscious, self-centered nitwits who think their libidos will be enhanced by eating shark fins, rhino tusks, etc.

  89. allie
    Desert sands...peace.
    March 1, 2013, 5:19 pm

    Wicked reality….so sad to hear such Truth (The #’s are a plus.). Bookmarked k. peace

  90. allie
    Desert sands...peace.
    March 1, 2013, 5:11 pm

    Very cool picture.*:) Thanks^Allie

  91. John
    US
    March 1, 2013, 5:10 pm

    It is absurd to think that these kind of practices still continue in our ocean. Nets,long lines, and mindless fishing vessels that conduct these kind of illegal and barbaric practices are just the tip of the iceberg. This kind of environmental destruction should be considered a form of terrorism and should be dealt with as such.

  92. Silverback
    United States
    March 1, 2013, 4:59 pm

    Global warming causes more fisherman!! Ohhhhhh help us!!!!!!