I am saddened to read today that shark deaths due to fishing have increased in recent years despite an international effort to reduce the harvesting of their fins. So says a new study that describes how shark finning – amputating a shark's fins and tail before throwing the carcass back into the water – is an awful practice. In the majority of cases, those are live animals being cast back into the sea after having their fins hacked off. Their future: a slow, dreadful death where the shark is left to bleed to death. Oh, and about one-third of those sharks killed belong to species facing extinction.
I learned a lot about sharks when researching and writing my book “Shark Assault: An Amazing Story of Survival” It’s the true story of a courageous young woman, Nicole Moore from Orangeville ON, who was walking waist-deep in the ocean at a Mexican resort when she was brutally, savagely attacked twice by a bull shark. She came very close to dying, lost her arm to amputation and has since endured numerous surgeries to save her leg.
Along the way, I met Claudia Li, founder of Shark Truth. She’s proudly Chinese, but she says the shark-finning process is inhumane. "Sharks are picked up and found, and they slice the fin off and they dump the rest of shark back into the ocean, and the shark's left to bleed to death," she explained. I also interviewed marine ecologist Dr. Peter Sale who told me that sharks are the “policemen” of the sea, keeping order. “If we start losing sharks, we’ll start losing the seas!”
For the last word, I turn to Dalhousie University biology professor, Dr. Boris Worm. "The number of threatened shark species around the world keeps going up, not down. Very simply, we need to do more.”