As the human population continues to increase, the demand for food also increases. An estimated 15 percent of consumed animal protein come from marine fish, and an overall 90 percent of the predatory fish, at the top of the food chain, are declining (Human, n.d). Hammerhead sharks, particularly scalloped hammerheads are the most threatened because of their fins and meat. The methods used for capturing this rare species are wasteful and cruel, and their decline is presenting tragic consequences for the ecosystem of the ocean (Shiffman, July 2014).
Finning, Overfishing, and Bycatch
Sharks are “apex” predators at the top of the ocean’s food chain. They keep the oceanic ecosystem balanced, which covers more than two-thirds …show more content…
Finning is also a wasteful practice because “less than 10% of the shark’s body weight is used” (Shiffman, 2012b). Many finnng laws are in place because of these things, but as a result of this banning, there has been an increase in demand for shark meat (Kronin, 2015).
Finning can lead to overfishing, which is when more fish get killed than necessary, usually at a faster rate than they can reproduce. If the fisherman only want fins, they will be able to fit more fins in a boat than if they caught and placed whole fish in the boat (Shiffman, …show more content…
They were the first shark species to be put on the U.S. Endangered Species List (Shiffman, July 2014). Because they are highly migratory, it is hard to protect them with U.S. laws alone.
Capture of Species These startling statistics may seem like reason alone to ban the capturing of hammerhead sharks, but not every country is equally concerned with the conservation of sharks and endangered species. Some species, such as the smooth dogfish sharks are even exempt from finning laws, as they have a tendency to drive away commercially caught fish, such as herring and mackerel. Dogfish also have a spine that can sting, causing an allergic reaction. Their meat is sold to countries such as England and Germany for fish and chips (McGuire, 2014).
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization International Plan of Action for the Conservation and management of sharks (IPOA) recommends that each nation should incorporate 10 principles which include making catches sustainable (not catching more than can be reproduced), reporting species of catch, making use of the whole dead shark, and being aware of threatened species (Shiffman, April