WHAT IS THE FINATHON?
The first Finathon was in the small city of Stoke-On-Trent in the UK but now it has gone global. This year Project Aware are aiming to raise $30,000 to help prevent shark finning in the future and protect our oceans most well known predator. In order to reach this target Finathon needs you to swim, run or cycle to spread awareness about the horrors of shark finning and the consequences that come as a result of this industry.
WHAT IS SHARK FINNING?
Shark Finning is the barbaric practice of using a knife to slice the fins off various species of shark whilst they are alive and then throwing it's mutilated body back into ocean to die a slow death. The main demand for shark fin comes from the asian 'delicacy' Shark Fin Soup. This soup has long been popular in places such as China amongst the wealthy - a bowl of shark fin soup can reach $100 or around £65. Due to the increased prosperity of the country many more people can now afford to eat shark fin soup compared to years ago which has led to increased demand for shark fins. Due to this popularity and cost they are a popular target for fisherman and are now in decline.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Not only is it barbaric, it has a damaging affect on our ecosystems and the shark population. Most species have depleted by over 95% in a short space of time - a dangerous level as sharks take many years to mature and only produce 1-2 offspring per year, if this continues we may lose some species forever. Sharks are a key predator in our oceans helping us to maintain a healthy eco system. In areas where shark numbers have suffered a steep decline, there are cases of shellfish declining caused by a unbalance in numbers of fish in the food chain which in turn affects water quality as less shellfish are available to filter the water. Sharks may have a bad rep caused by their inclusion in films such as 'Jaws' and due to reports of attacks, but in reality you are more likely to be struck by lightning or killed by falling coconuts. Compare shark finning to skinning a tiger alive or finning a dolphin in the same way and i'm sure you'll see the cruelty involved. Shark fin is relatively tasteless, is of poor nutritional quality and comes with human health risks due to the amount of mercury found in the flesh. It's main function in the soup is to add texture as the soup is normally flavored with chicken stock. It is a very unnecessary menu dish that comes at a huge price environmentally - claims that it has excellent health benefits are completely unfounded.