What Tigers are to maintaining the balance of life on land, Sharks are to the Oceanic ecosystems of the world!

Globally, millions of sharks are ruthlessly hunted for their fins. After catching the sharks and cutting their dorsal fins, the sharks are then tossed back into the sea to die a slow and painful death!!

Apart from the horror of this practice, the balance of sea life is seriously disturbed as sharks are high up the food chain and control the population of a large variety of smaller fish-life. India is one of the biggest killer of sharks!!

The barbarians are now at our gates because most other nations of the world have started restricting fishing practices that lead to killing of Sharks. The mighty Mobile Phone that has empowered the fisherman with easy access to shark fin buyers, has made India the centrepiece of the regional shark-finning industry. We should never ignore the compulsions of the poor fishermen of our country, but are we about to sell the health of our oceans for a few measly dollars? We say, NO! There are choices, without compromising the fishermen’s income, to save our ecosystem!


These are pictures of  catch from a boat held by local authorities for illegally fishing in the waters of Lakshadweep. The boat responsible was doing IUU, Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing.  Lakshadweep’s territorial waters are an area only boats from Lakshadweep are permitted to fish.

Local fishermen use only the eco-friendly pole and line fishing techniques and target tuna and illegal fishing boats from Kerala and Tamil Nadu pose a great threat to the livelihood and ecology of Lakshadweep, and its an increasing threat these days.

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Posted on October 11, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Sharks have been swimming the world’s oceans for hundreds of million of years, even before the first dinosaurs appeared on earth. Today, commercial fishing is decimating shark populations, putting many shark species in danger of extinction.

    Sharks are the “apex predators” of the sea, which means that they have few natural predators. An apex predator’s role is extremely important in maintaining biodiversity and stabilising ecosystems. They do this by directly limiting the populations of animals below them in the food web. To put it very simply, more predators lead to greater diversity.

    Our seas will suffer unpredictable and devastating consequences if the number of apex predators decline. The removal of high-level predators causes “trophic cascades”. The effects trickle down to lower levels in the food web, wreaking havoc on the balance of the ecosystem. The effects of removing sharks from the food web can lead to a chain reaction, which can ultimately lead to the degradation of coral reefs on a regional scale. For example, when shark numbers are reduced, the numbers of secondary predators like groupers, rays, and other large predatory fish increases, because without sharks, they are free from predation. This overabundance of predatory fish leads to excessive pressure on herbivores in the ecosystem and their numbers decline. Without herbivores, algae grow unchecked and cause a shift from a coral to an algal dominated system. This chain reaction causes degradation of reefs at large scales.

    Humans are drastically reducing the number of sharks in the oceans. According to Wildaid and Oceania, more than a hundred million sharks are killed each year.
    Shark finning has become the major reason for the decline of these majestic creatures. Shark fins are the primary ingredient in shark-fin soup, an expensive staple of Chinese restaurants throughout Asia and parts of the West. Some reports place the value of shark fins and shark cartilage used in traditional medicines to treat joint pain at a trillion dollars a year. Because of this lucrative market, fishermen net sharks, cut off their fins and throw the bleeding, limbless fish back into the water.

    The United States of America and Canada placed bans on finning in the early 1990s, while 60 other countries have agreed to ban the practice in the Atlantic Ocean. Mexico announced a ban in 2007. More countries need to reduce the number of sharks captured in commercial fisheries, improve shark management and require strict species-specific fishing quotas and stock assessments.

    Most important of all, we need to reduce the demand for shark products like shark fin soup!

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