Each year, vending machines in freak accidents kill more people than sharks do. So why is it that each year, humans kill more than 100 million sharks? Shark finning is one of the most vicious yet unknown issues. This problem has killed off one of the most important species to our ecosystem and we either do not realize it, or we do not see the importance of what sharks do for our world.

Shark finning is usually taking place in Asia. It is, in fact, illegal. Poachers will go out on ships and line the waters with several hooks and continuously reel in sharks. Once they bring the sharks on board, these sharks are maimed and dismembered losing their fins by dulled knives. Once these poachers get the fins, they no longer have a use for these hurt creatures; so they throw the half-alive sharks back into the water.

Not only are they bleeding to death, but sharks must constantly be swimming in order to stay alive. Finless, this is impossible. They bleed out and eventually sink to the bottom of the ocean floor and die.

But these sharks are used and killed unnecessarily. Only the fins are taken from these poor creatures. Shark fins are used for a delicacy all around Asia and now beginning to become popular in Canada as well. This delicacy is in fact called, shark fin soup. Shark finning is an illegal process. But even more shocking, it is not illegal to serve the soup in a restaurant.

So although the government as well as the coast guard is very active in playing a role in trying to save these animals, so many sharks still die to such a cruel activity.

Journalist Todd Masson researches with the department of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries; “It was for two men caught in April 2012 with 11 whole sharks and 2,073 shark fins, taken from another 518 fish… The men were ordered to pay a fine to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration totaling $45,000, and were also placed on two years probation.”

I ran a Facebook survey asking people what their thoughts and their initial emotions were once they were informed about shark finning. Heather Acosta questions, “I don’t understand why this isn’t a bigger issue? Why don’t we hear about it?”

Sharon Hentsch says, “One has to consider the evolution process of why sharks exist. To cut off their fins so they sink and die is just inhumane…consider what would happen if the same we’re done to a human.”

Survey viewer, Amy Cavanaugh makes clear, “Since sharks don’t reproduce like commercial fish, this is extremely detrimental to the ecosystem. Essentially endangering the apex predator of any ecosystem has drastic consequences, but to endanger the ocean? The effect it would have on humans is catastrophic.”

Sophie Schroder, author of, “Living on the Brink: What Happens if all the Sharks Die?” talks to board member Paul Hilton of GreenPeace USA. Hilton says, “But with some shark species down by as much as 90 percent, time is running out. ‘Sharks basically regulate the world’s oceans,’ says Paul. ‘If they die, we’re in big trouble.’”

According to seashepard.org, “Studies in Belize have shown reef systems falling into extreme decline when the sharks have been overfished, destroying an entire ecosystem.” With a decrease in sharks and a soon to be possible extinction, shark finning could not only be detrimental to the oceans, but to humans’ living as well. Destroying an entire ecosystem over one soup we call a delicacy is actually quite ridiculous.

Shark finning sounds like an issue with no solution. But there are a variety of professionals that are quite hopeful in finding hope to save these creatures. Thankfully, these professionals are looking optimistic at the younger generation to help save the sharks.

Hilton continues, “‘I’m very positive and hopeful that we’ll win this fight, and young Chinese consumers are much more aware than they ever were — it’s the younger generation who are driving this change.’”

I encourage my readers to bring this matter to attention. Not everyone may care so deeply about wildlife, sharks specifically, but if shark finning continues, our world can turn upside down drastically for the worst.

Shark finning is an extremely large issue that is taking place around the world. It is highly unrecognized and that needs to be changed. We must find a solution; and that begins with raising awareness.