Shark finning: killing animals for the sake of a soup | Photo: Wang/Creative Commons

Did you know that fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade yearly?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are 14 species of shark threatened, vulnerable, and endangered due to shark finning.

But why is this a problem? And why do hunters cut the fins off a shark? The main reason might shock you. In many Asian countries, shark fin soup is a luxurious delicacy. But the United States is also a client.

In 2007, America imported 1,012 metric tons of shark fins. Today, although shark finning is banned in US waters, only 11 states have prohibited the sale or trade of this product.

Oceana, an environment coalition group dedicated to the protection of the world's oceans, is inviting surfers to call on Congress to pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act.

"One practice stands above others in terms of wastefulness and cruelty - shark finning, which is fueled by the demand for shark fins," Oceana notes in a petition exclusively driven at surfers.

"This process involves cutting the fins off of a shark and discarding its body at sea, where it dies a slow death from drowning, bleeding out, or even being eaten alive by other fish."

"The Chinese government has stopped serving shark fin soup at official government banquets. Private companies are also refusing to ship or sell shark fin products, including Amazon, GrubHub, many hotels and major airlines, Disney, and multiple shipping companies," adds Oceana.

Some shark populations around the world have declined by more than 90 percent, with between 63 and 273 million sharks killed every year.

The United States has the power to start a change. Chefs, restaurant owners, hotels, and consumers should keep shark fins away from their menus and diets, but Congress can also do its part and move the legislation forward.

Sharks are an essential force in the marine ecosystem. Stopping shark finning is protecting the oceans of the world and the planet's equilibrium.

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