For decades, horror films have portrayed sharks as voracious, toothy eating machines, relentlessly pursuing (and devouring) human victims.
But in reality, it’s humans who have an insatiable appetite for sharks. A new documentary explores the grim, bloody and high-profit activity of hunting and killing these oceanic predators, threatening many species with extinction.
Each year, humans kill over 100 million sharks in waters around the world, and one of the main reasons is their fins, which are used to make shark fin soup. Director Eli Roth, known for his bloody horror films such as “Cabin Fever” (2002), “Hostel” (2005) and “The Green Inferno” (2013), recently turned his camera towards the macabre practice of the shark. finning: removing the fins from a shark while the shark is still alive, then throwing the body into the sea, leaving the helpless shark to bleed to death or drown, depending on the United States Humanitarian Society.
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“Fin, now streaming on Discovery Plus, debuted on July 13 during Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” and offers an insight into this ghoulish industry and its impacts on shark populations around the world. In the documentary, Roth dives with sharks, boards shark fin fishing boats in the middle of the ocean, and visits businesses where fins and other shark products are processed and sold. Sharks have fascinated Roth since he was a child, and he started making “Fin” after learning about how widespread the shark fin and fishing industries are, generating billions of dollars from the sale. fins, cartilage and organs for food, medicine and cosmetics. depending on the trailer.
Shark fin soup, which dates to the 10th century CE and was once reserved exclusively for the nobility and emperors in China, is now widely consumed by the wealthy in Asia and Western countries, and sells for up to $ 100 per bowl, depending on conservation group Shark Stewards. The fins themselves are almost tasteless; they’re dried, shredded, and added to the broth for texture, and some restaurants have started replacing the fins with ingredients of similar texture, such as dried sea cucumber, according to the New York Times.
Shark fins can fetch as much as $ 500 per pound ($ 1,100 per kilogram), so anglers have an incentive to maximize their profits by removing the fins and throwing out the rest of the shark, according to the Smithsonian Institution. National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC
While the main shark fin market is China, consumption in the United States is on the rise. Over 130,000 tonnes (120,000 metric tonnes) of shark fins, worth an estimated $ 380 million, were imported into the United States in 2011 – “a 42% increase in volume from 2000 “, the The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported in 2015.
The United States is also one of the top 10 shark fin exporters in the world, said Neil Hammerschlag, associate professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, and director of Shark Research and University Conservation Program. (Fishing regulations vary from state to state, but the practice of finning is illegal in U.S. waters, and any sharks caught must be brought ashore with their fins still attached, according to the Shark Conservation Act 2010.)
Sharks are particularly susceptible to wiping out by large-scale fishing operations, as sharks mature late in life and have relatively few offspring compared to other fish, Hammerschlag told Live Science.
As predators, sharks play an important role in various marine habitats. Sharks maintain healthy fish populations by eliminating sick and weak individuals; they help maintain a balance of diverse species in their habitats; and they regulate oxygen production by eating fish that consume oxygen-generating plankton, Previously reported live science.
“They have been around the planet for so long – 400 million years – and there is still so much to learn. Not only aspects of biology but also of their ecology; how they impact ecosystems and how ecosystems impact them.” , said Hammerschlag.
About a third of all shark species are currently threatened with extinction, and if the finning industry continues unchecked, it could soon push these iconic animals past a tipping point, which could have effects significant impacts on ocean life – and for the people who depend on it. on the oceans for food. With “Fin”, Roth hopes to raise awareness of the practice of finning and inspire action to preserve shark populations before it’s too late.
“’End’ is the scariest movie I’ve ever made – and certainly the most dangerous – but I wanted to send a message of hope to end this needless shark slaughter,” Roth said. in a report.
“Fifty years ago the world came together to save whales, then we did it for dolphins, and recently for orcas. It’s time to do the same for sharks, and time is running out.” , did he declare.
Originally posted on Live Science.