Peter Benchley: Sharks Threatened by Human Beings

Posted on June 30, 2010

Shark Fins San Francisco

International conservation group WildAid has released the above photo of shark fins sold in San Francisco Chinatown. The photographs proves that sharks are being finned alive for soup sold in the United States. Most Americans are unaware of the damage caused by the shark fin industry and that shark fin soup is widely available from Chinese restaurants in the U.S. WildAid's recent survey found one third of Chinese restaurants in San Francisco serving the dish priced from $6.95 to $85 a bowl.

Fins from up to 70 million sharks a year are used for shark fin soup often with the bodies of the animal dumped overboard dead or alive. In a recent study from the IUCN Shark Specialist Group the world's top shark scientists reported that of 64 species of open ocean sharks and rays 32% are "threatened with extinction," primarily due to overfishing. In addition, 24% were "near threatened," while another 25% could not be assessed due to lack of data.

Only 3 species of sharks have any kind of international protection. The UN CITES convention recently declined to take any action due to opposition led by Japan.

Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, says you are more likely to be killed by bee stings or falling off a ladder than a shark. He says sharks are the victims not the villains in the modern world. WARNING: This video shows sharks being captured and their fins being removed while they are still alive. Take a look:

Hawaii recently became the first state to ban the sale of shark fin soup.

Champion of the Bill Senator Clayton Hee says, "Hawaii is proud to be at the forefront of the movement to save threatened sharks. For native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders sharks are revered, because we recognize their ecological importance, but we have been silent for too long on the decimation of shark stocks globally."

Photo: WildAid