Ask Before You Order to Help End Illegal Shark Finning | South Carolina Aquarium

Ask Before You Order to Help End Illegal Shark Finning

Aug 12

Ask Before You Order to Help End Illegal Shark Finning

Sharks are fascinating, yet often misunderstood. These captivating creatures have been portrayed in the media and pop culture as ferocious killers for years as a result of movies like “Jaws,” but the truth is that humans should be helping to protect them, not fear them. As top ocean predators, they play a vital role in our planet’s ecosystem and humans would be in serious trouble if sharks disappeared.

Over 100 million sharks are killed each year due to human activity, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). One of the main reasons for this startling statistic is illegal fishing practices, including shark finning. Shark finning is the practice of catching sharks, cutting off their fins, and throwing their remaining dead or dying bodies back in the ocean. The fins are used for food, mainly shark fin soup, which originated in Asia and is considered a delicacy. Although this practice is highly regulated in the United States, illegal finning continues at an alarming rate all over the world. This illegal and inhumane trade is leading to the decrease of shark populations.

Sharks grow slowly, produce few young and become sexually mature at older ages than other fish species. They are often caught before they can reproduce, making it difficult for populations to thrive. If the population of an apex predator declines, the entire ecosystem shifts, drastically affecting our marine resources. Watch this PBS Digital Short to see what might happen if there were no sharks in the ocean.

Our South Carolina Aquarium Good Catch restaurant partners have committed to serving local and sustainable seafood whenever possible. They have also committed to never serve imported shark. Be sure you’re not supporting an illegal shark supplier by pledging to Ask Before You Order at the grocery store or at a restaurant.

To learn more about what you can do to protect sharks, visit the Aquarium during the week of August 8 – 14 for Shark Week! Share your Shark Week experience using #SCASharkWeek.

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