Species of sharks are facing extinction due to the result of fishing them for their fins, by-catching, and habitat destruction. Shark fins are a delicacy in many parts of the world and individuals are allowed to travel with up to 20kg of dried shark fins in their luggage, which is about 12 adult sharks- per person. Lenient laws combined with sharks’ bad reputation can make it harder for the general public to be convinced of the urgency to conserve these species.
In a recent survey conducted with shark researchers, 84% believed sustainable fisheries should be implemented to save sharks, which contrasts with others’ opinions that there should be a ban. Certain shark species, such as Gulper sharks do not produce enough offspring to be sustained, but the Pacific spiny dogfish sharks can be sustainably fished even with low offspring rates. Sustainable fisheries can work if the target population and species are monitored, if there are calculated quotas, and if scientists are aware of old versus young fish proportions. Finning is also solved with sustainable fisheries, because the whole shark must be “used.” In other words, when the sharks in these fisheries are caught all of their meat and body parts must be used. Therefore, there will be no need for individuals to go out and cut shark fins off of wild sharks and leave them to die, which contributes to shark extinction. Another concern for sustainable shark fishing is traceability and illegal trade. But, if developed countries help developing countries by creating international treaties for fisheries and trade, as well as improving traceability these sustainable fisheries have a chance of saving sharks from extinction.