Depths of Despair:The Callous Crime of Shark Finning   
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I think sharks are deeply misunderstood and that everybody thinks of status when they eat shark fin soup, but they are so unaware about the abuse of sharks. We need to make a stand. Sharks are part of our ecosystem.

Kind-hearted viewers, this is the Stop Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television. Our topic today is the vicious slaughter of a highly endangered giant of the sea, the shark, for their fins.

Sharks have inhabited Earth’s oceans for more than 400-million years, and scientists have found that they are highly intelligent beings.

From an ecological standpoint, sharks are vital to keeping the marine ecosystem in balance. And as shark populations disappear, the oceanic environment becomes disrupted in a chain reaction.

Some shark populations have declined more than 80% in the past fifteen years. There is an 89% decline in the hammerhead sharks. There’s a 79% decline in the great white sharks. There’s an 88% decline in angel sharks. IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species of 2006 contains at least 547 species of sharks; with 20% being classified as critically endangered,

Why are sharks’ numbers precipitously declining? The answer is that marine life stands no chance of survival given the locational technologies currently being used by the heartless fishing industry, including fish-finding sonar, satellite positioning systems and spotter helicopters. Ruthless fishing methods such as trawling are decimating sharks and other sea dwellers. This technique involves towing a large fishing net behind one or two vessels. Trawling ships can be up to the size of a football field and may stay at sea for six months at a time.

Another method involves the use of purse seines, or large nets with one end fixed while the boat hauls the other end in a circle. During these operations, all marine animals larger than the net’s mesh size are inhumanely trapped, including sharks. Each year, a staggering 100-million sharks are slaughtered worldwide by the fishing industry.

“Bycatch” is the term used for marine life that is unintentionally caught and typically dies during the fishing process. It is estimated that 50% or more of the sharks killed annually are bycatch. Sharks killed by “finning” are also part of the huge annual death toll. Finning refers to the extremely savage practice of removing sharks’ fins and then dumping their bodies back into the sea. It is estimated that every second, three sharks die due to finning, becoming bycatch or loss of habitat.

Finning is the direct result of the global demand in Asian communities for shark fin soup, consumption of which has grown astronomically in recent decades. This tasteless dish is often served at weddings and business dinners to show wealth and position and can cost up to US$100 a bowl. The market price of shark fins has been driven up so high that finning has become a routine practice by fishermen across the globe for the sake of quick profit.

Ms. Andrea Ng, President of EarthCare, a Hong Kong-based non-profit animal protection and sustainable living organization, has been a vegan for 23 years, and approximately 99% of her group’s volunteers are vegetarians.

The process of shark finning is very cruel. Sharks are usually caught as bycatch during the fishing process and the fisherman, in order to save space for more expensive fish, for example tuna, will just cut the fin from the shark when the shark is still alive and they dump the body of the shark into the sea and let them bleed to death. So you can imagine how painful it is for the shark when they’ve been dropped into the ocean and they have to gradually bleed to death and no one knows how long that process would take.

The finned shark writhes in utter agony in the reddening seawaters, her body slowly sinks to the bottom, as without fins, a shark cannot swim. She eventually dies of pain, suffocation and blood loss. After diving off Cocos Island near Costa Rica, Peter Benchley, shark conservationist and author of the novel “Jaws” said, “I have seen the bottom of the ocean strewn with finless sharks; one of the most horrific sights I have ever seen.”

Hi everyone. My name is Chang Mo-Kai. They catch sharks and cut off their fins. Once they got the fins, they throw the sharks back into the sea. I feel very sad for the sharks. Please protect the sharks and stop eating their fins.

Please, from now on stop any shark fin consumption. Finning is responsible for the death of tens of millions of sharks every year. However, there has been a lack of a systematic record of the catch data of sharks and shark fins in many countries and jurisdictions.

There are many reasons for that. Firstly, there has been a lack of incentives for poachers and fishermen to report this data, partly because in some countries shark finning is already illegal.

And secondly, there are different types of categorizing and labeling, according to different types of custom recording practices. Thirdly, because of these illegal poaching practices, many organized crime activities were involved. That’s why many fishermen do not want to report these issues to law enforcement authorities as well. That’s why I would like to ask every one of you not to contribute to this organized crime and illegal practice and not to contribute to these cruel and unsustainable practices.

When we return, we’ll have more on the unconscionable massacre of sharks. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Hi, my name is Timothy Nga. I'm an actor and host based here in Singapore. Sharks are a very, very important part of our marine ecosystem. So if the sharks die in the ocean, we die.

Hi, I'm Randall Tan. I'm an actor here in Singapore. I believe that we need to save ourselves and in order to save ourselves, we have to save what's around us. We don't have to kill in order to make ourselves have a higher status. It's not necessary. So, we're here to save the sharks!

This is the Stop the Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television, where today we’re focusing on the horrific practice of shark finning.

If you want to supply yourself with protein, of course shark fin soup is not a very good source or supply. Firstly, shark fin soup itself is tasteless. And secondly, shark fin soup is often infused with heavy toxic metals like mercury and cadmium, etc. And it is also widely known through scientific evidence that a high level of mercury consumption can cause very serious harm to both pregnant women and children, causing serious damage to the brains and to the nervous system.

Besides affecting the nervous system, mercury poisoning is associated with cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, premature delivery and autism. A 2008 study found that eight out of 10 shark samples sold in Hong Kong markets exceeded the maximum allowable levels set by the authorities, with some samples being four times beyond permissible limits.

Many consumers have the wrong belief that shark cartilage can be used as a cure for cancer. However so far, there has been no scientific evidence to support this proposition. There are also uses of shark fin and shark oil as part of cosmetics. However, there are already a lot of herbal alternatives, often organic products, which are actually more healthy for your skin, and therefore you don’t need to cause cruelty to the poor marine animals and cause problems to the ecosystem.

Once depleted, it takes many decades for shark populations to return to previous levels, if they do so at all.

Sharks are very highly vulnerable because the female sharks are very long lived and they only reproduce at a very later stage of their life cycle. In addition, most sharks have very few offspring, usually producing about three to four eggs every time. Sharks have very long gestation periods and it often takes 25 years for sharks to become mature.

On World Animal Day, October 4, 2009, the “Spare the Shark” campaign was organized by Singapore’s Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES). During the well-publicized event, local celebrities including Jamie Yeo, Melody Chen, Randall Tan and Timothy Nga pledged not to eat shark fin soup. Participants shattered soup bowls and the resulting pieces were used to create a 15 meter-long mosaic of a shark along the famed Orchard Road.

Hi, my name is Juggi and I'm the founder and president of ACRES (the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society). These soup bowls represent an enormous amount of cruelty and insensitive killing across Asia. So right here in front of us, we have a massive 15-meter long shark. And we're going to make it entirely out of broken soup bowls.

And we're hoping to convey the message to the public that a hundred million sharks have gone into soup bowls every year. When we look at the sea, we don't see the destruction happening underneath. We don't see that we are turning it into a desert, day after day after day.

Make a choice, make a stand and just stop eating shark fin soup. When the demand goes down, the supply will go down. And the sharks will be saved. Thank you.

They get the sharks out of the sea, chop off their fins and then throw them back into the sea. I think this is very brutal and disgusting. Some people spend so much money buying shark fins, but they didn’t know that these fins are seriously polluted by heavy metals. They think eating shark fins can yield good skin texture and beauty, but I only see them poisoning themselves.

If we don’t eat shark fins, then the decrease in the demand will prevent fisherman from persecuting those sharks. No eating shark fins means no killing. Please stop eating shark fins.

Hi, everyone. My name is Dong-Ping Hsu, and I work for Customs. We can all protect sharks. Just stop eating shark fins.

We can still save the sharks. Many countries have already banned shark finning and the oldest chain of shark fin restaurants in Hong Kong has shut down. Veggie replacements for shark fin are abundantly available and many wonderful groups such as EarthCare and the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society are working hard to save our marine friends.

My name is Mang-Ping Wu. My name is Mang-Chi Wu. I feel pity for the sharks to see humans cut off the fins. Please stop eating shark fins for the poor sharks. Thank you very much!

May the world soon follow the organic, vegan diet so that the splendid shark and all the other magnificent beings on our planet will live freely and in peace.

For more information on shark conservation, please visit:
The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society
Blue Sphere Media

Sincere viewers, thank you for being with us today on Stop Animal Cruelty. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment after Noteworthy News. May the day soon come when all God’s creations on Earth live together in harmony and mutual respect.

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