Shocking Video of Shark Fin Trade.

See on Scoop.itVia @VidarOceans Protecting the Oceans

Published on Jan 4, 2013

Thousands of shark fins drying on a building roof in Hong Kong.

These images on Thursday have angered environmentalists.

One activist who visited the site estimated there were 15-20 thousand shark fins being processed.

[Gary Stokes, Spokesperson, Sea Shepherd HK]: 
“They used to dry the fins out in the street, a lot of the public — there was a big public outcry. Tourism — it doesn’t look good when tourists are coming to town, seeing all these dead sharks on the street… They’ve obviously decided to try and hide their ugly game and they went up to the roofs.”

Shark fins are a delicacy in Chinese cooking. But animal rights activists say the way they’re obtained is inhumane. Videos of fishermen removing fins from freshly caught sharks, and throwing the fish back in the water, have sparked outrage.

It’s led to calls to ban shark fins. But the practice is still legal in Hong Kong, minus a few protected species.

This trader says though, it’s not as bad as people think.

[Leung Wing-Chiu, Shark Fin Shop Owner]: 
“Thats just what foreigners think. If they have taken the shark meat, why can’t the shark fins be used too? You have killed the shark anyway. Some say the sharks are thrown back into the sea after their fins are cut off. I don’t think this is true. There just happens to be some video of people throwing them back.”

Sharks live longer than most fish and reproduce very slowly. This longer breeding cycle makes them vulnerable to extinction.

[Gary Stokes, Spokesperson, Sea Shepherd HK]: 
“It’s more the global impact on the ocean’s ecosystems. By taking out an apex predator like the sharks, obviously the snowball effect down the ecosystems will be unprecedented.”

Hong Kong is one of the biggest producers of shark fins. While local demand is decreasing, demand in the Mainland is growing.

Shark fin can cost as little as $50 a pound and as much as a few thousand.

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