Important Takeaway

By Steve Backshall and Harry Venning

This generation sees the world in a graphic novel format. Punchy prose, stark imagery, superheroes and arch villains. It’s a language I didn’t speak before getting involved in this project, and I can’t believe what I’ve been missing – as a tool for communicating conservation crises it is pretty much without equal.

Steve Backshall, writer, explorer and wildlife presenter

100 Million Dead Sharks – it’s not all about Shark Fin Soup

When it comes to solving the problem of overfishing sharks, every country has got a role to play.  From implementing strict limits to how many can be caught, to agreeing a target of at least 30% ocean protection by 2030.

Shark fin soup is well-known.  When we hear that 100 million sharks are killed every year by the fishing industry, some people may assume it’s because of shark fin soup.  But these assumptions are just not true.  Only focusing on shark fin soup  crowds out other reasons sharks are in trouble, including a huge global market for shark products like meat and oil.

And there are other reasons we need to stop talking about shark fin soup.  Blaming one dish lets everyone else off the hook, while unnecessarily targeting certain countries or groups of people as the main consumers. So it’s time for all of us to find out a bit more about the real reason sharks are being killed.

A shark is hauled into the hold of the Pedra da Grelo, a Spanish longliner targeting swordfish in the south Atlantic ocean. ` The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and crew are investigating distant water fishing fleet practices in the Mid-Atlantic during September and October 2019. © Tommy Trenchard / Greenpeace

When it comes to solving the problem of overfishing sharks, every country has got a role to play.  From implementing strict limits to how many can be caught, to agreeing a target of at least 30% ocean protection by 2030.  We must create a network of ocean sanctuaries across the world that would act as nurseries and feeding grounds for sharks and other wildlife, helping them recover from years of abuse.  Even countries without a coastline can help: implementing strict rules around importing shark products like shark oil (which can be found in plenty of cosmetics), or fish-based fertiliser (which often includes shark in the ingredients). No single country, nor cuisine can be blamed for the staggering number of sharks being killed every single year – but every country can step up to solve this problem.

Aerial view of a FAD (fish aggregating device) at night in the Indian Ocean. © Will Rose / Greenpeace

When it comes to solving the problem of overfishing sharks, every country has got a role to play.  From implementing strict limits to how many can be caught, to agreeing a target of at least 30% ocean protection by 2030.  We must create a network of ocean sanctuaries across the world that would act as nurseries and feeding grounds for sharks and other wildlife, helping them recover from years of abuse.  Even countries without a coastline can help: implementing strict rules around importing shark products like shark oil (which can be found in plenty of cosmetics), or fish-based fertiliser (which often includes shark in the ingredients). No single country, nor cuisine can be blamed for the staggering number of sharks being killed every single year – but every country can step up to solve this problem.

Sharks are a critical part of the ocean ecosystem, vital for ocean health and vital for the health of us and our blue planet.  We all have a part to play in protecting them.  Here at Greenpeace, that means we can no longer just campaign to Protect the Oceans and take action at sea to confront industrial fishing fleets.  But we must also do more to raise awareness of the global trade in shark meat, oil and other products.

Article from Greenpeack UK. Wenjing Pan is oceans project manager at Greenpeace East AsiaWill McCallum is head of oceans at Greenpeace UK.

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Comic credits

Story developed and written by Steve Backshall
Everything else: Harry Venning

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