Born Free USA Blog
by Adam M Roberts,
Chief Executive Officer
When it comes to animals, Adam Roberts not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Since beginning his animal advocacy career in Washington, D.C. in 1991, Adam's ambition, tireless involvement, and profound knowledge of conservation and wildlife issues have cemented him as a go-to voice for protecting animals — and he has elevated Born Free USA to the respected and impactful organization that we know today. Adam's compassionate, informed, and forward-thinking blogs will surely motivate you to join us in our fight to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.
Sharks face many threats in today’s oceans, but the practice of “shark finning” is by far the cruelest of all.
Shark finning is a multibillion-dollar trade and a staggeringly gruesome practice. It involves cutting off a shark’s fins while it is still alive, and then tossing the poor creature back into the sea to slowly bleed to death, become prey, or drown.
(Photograph by Rick Hawkins)
Subjecting any shark to this fate is unacceptable. Yet, at least 73 million sharks — many of which are endangered—are killed to simply supply a demand for shark fin soup, a “delicacy” in many Asian markets.
If things don’t change, we could lose sharks entirely. The consequences would be catastrophic for ocean ecosystems. Sharks play a significant role in balancing fish populations. Because they reach sexual maturity late in life and birth small litters, they are particularly susceptible to overharvesting. In fact, scientists state that shark finning could be responsible for a worldwide collapse in shark populations.
But I remain hopeful because many signs of change are coming. Just last week, a member of China's parliament proposed a ban on the trade in shark fins. Last year, Congress passed the federal Shark Conservation Act of 2010 to prohibit importing shark fins into the United States unless the entire shark is used. Starting on July 1, it will be illegal to possess or sell shark fins within the state of Hawaii. And this year, the California, Oregon and Washington legislatures introduced similar bills to ban people from possessing, selling, offering for sale, trading or distributing shark fins. Born Free USA is actively working to garner support for all three bills.
One cannot effectively protect sharks without eliminating the market for shark fins. Please speak out against this unspeakably cruel practice.