A passionate team of environmental heavyweights including Fin Free, the Australian Marine Conservation Society and Greenpeace are supporting a ‘Fin Free Cities’ campaign launched by the Sea Life Conservation Fund at four Sea Life attractions across Australia.
Fin Free Cities has been launched to coincide with Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which premieres on Sunday December 1 at 7:30pm (AEDT) and aims to celebrate sharks and educate viewers on the ocean’s most misunderstood creature.
Despite the practice of shark finning being illegal in many countries, sharks are still killed for their fins at unprecedented rates. According to the IUCN, all 14 species of shark most prevalent in the shark fin trade are listed as Threatened or Near Threatened with extinction. Often these sharks are finned while alive with their bodies discarded back at sea, either dead or dying. Almost 200,000 sharks are killed each day, many to supply fins for shark fin soup.
While the practice of catching sharks just for their fins and discarding their bodies at sea is illegal in Australia, fisheries here catch thousands of tonnes of sharks every year. Australia exports products from these fisheries, like shark meat and fins, to countries around the world. Australia also imports hundreds of tonnes of shark fin from countries such as China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand and America. This trade of shark and shark fin is driving the global decline of many species of sharks around the world.
Claudette Rechtorik, Sea Life Conservation Fund manager, explained: ‘Sharks play a critical role in the diversity of marine ecosystems and as a top predator, they maintain the balance of prey species and the marine food web. Sharks have been around for over 400 million years; however, with a whopping 90 per cent decline in shark populations, the Fin Free Cities program has been formed to make positive change to this rapid decline.’
Those wanting to make the Fin Free Cities pledge can visit www.sydneyaquarium.com.au/finfree
See more about Sea Life at www.sealifeconservation.org.au