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It is finally time to say goodbye to the shark fin trade in the UK
Whilst the world has moved on from many of the cruel and unnecessary practices, it seems that some of the trades and traditions that you see around the world are still carried out, despite the obvious negative repercussions of those acts.
One of these is the shark fin trade. However, things are set to change, and earlier this month, the UK government announced that it had banned the shark fin trade, stopping both imports and exports.
Of course, conservationists and animal welfare campaigners are welcoming these changes and how they can allow for significant steps to protect marine life from unsustainable fishing practices.
What is the legislation?
Announced by the Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), there is no set a date for when it will come into place. Primarily because this time frame is dependant on animal welfare, legislation is passed through parliament.
This legislation is there to offer protection to many endangered species. There are 143 out of 500 species noted as being under threat, and two of these are the Shortfin Mako and the Blue.
The main reason for this visible decline is down to these shark species being caught in global fishing fleets. This could be due to direct fishing of them for their fins or meat, or it could be a product of other fish and marine creatures being fished, with the sharks being caught up in the procedure.
Whilst this is a devastating idea for any marine creature, it is particularly poignant for sharks. They have been around for millions of years, and over this time, they have become a vital part of the ocean ecosystem, maintaining much of the health of the water and all those creatures that call it their home.
Why are sharks fished?
One question that many people seem to have is why sharks are even fished in the first place? The answer to this is that their fins are used for shark fin soup. Seen as a delicacy in many countries, this soup is made from shark fins, which are removed from the fish while still alive.
The rest of the shark is then disposed of, as they do not see it having a use.
Whilst we wait for the legislation to come into force and make enormous changes for the world’s ocean, we are incredibly excited that there have been steps in the right direction. Not only will this legislation help to boost shark numbers, but it also has wider repercussions than this.
One is that it sends out a clear message to those who work within and support these cruel and unnecessary practices. It shows that there is no support for these industries and that their actions are detrimental to the animals that call our planet their home.