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The Ocean

What’s even more horrible about shark finning is


Covering over 70% of the earth’s surface, the ocean that any shark is taken, and age, size or species don’t even
is by far our planets largest biome. Life on our planet come into concern. Shark specialists have estimated that
originated here over 3 billion years ago, and today the ocean around 100 million sharks are murdered each year for their
is home to more then one million species of plants and fins. Additionally, the act of shark finning has become
animals and possibly nine million more that have yet to be by Maddy Wood increasingly widespread, and even more uncontrolled and
discovered. The ocean also has claim to earth’s longest unmonitored. This has devastating impacts.
mountain chain, and the earth’s largest living structure, the The ocean currently faces many environmental threats and Above all, the sharks are experiencing extreme
Great Barrier Reef. problems. One main cause of these problems is global warming. declines in population. Many species are already endangered.
Aside from being the With the changing climate one of the many problems the ocean Scientists and experts predict that within a decade the
earth’s largest living faces is the rising sea level. Over the past 100 years the sea level has majority of species will be extinct from long lining. The main
structure, the Great risen an average of 4-10 inches and it is predicted that this rate will cause for the shark populations declining is because the
Barrier Reef and other increase. Global warming is constantly melting ice, and were all of fisheries have received such high demands recently that the
coral reefs are home to the world’s ice to melt the ocean would rise 200 ft. Another problem populations can’t reproduce quickly enough to keep up.
the greatest variety of obviously due to global warming is water temperature. Water has the This loss of sharks also effects the marine ecosystems
plant and animal capability to hold a lot of store a lot of heat before actually changing that they belong to. When there are less sharks there are less
species in the whole temperature, so the ocean is only rising by 0.13 °C each decade, but predators, and therefore an abundance of fish that the sharks
ocean. They are the that number is also expected to increase over the following years. would normally consume. This threatens the stability of such
‘rain forests’ of the ocean. The ocean houses a very diverse Trash pollution is also another serious issue. Just in one year three ecosystems.
group of marine animals, most of which are fish, but some of times as much trash is dumped into the ocean as the weight of fish Not only does shark finning effect the animals in the
which are mammals. The animals of the ocean all live caught. Each year around 70 to 75 million tons of fish are caught. local areas, but it also effects the local fisheries. Larger
in very different environments within the ocean. Animals like This brings us to another major problem, which is the fisheries. industrial foreign fishing vessels create competition for the
the blue whale, the largest animal in the world, live in the There is such high demand for fish from these fisheries that the fish local ones, and this hurts the local areas business. It also
open ocean, where they can find floating plankton, their main can not reproduce quickly enough to keep up, and therefore many effects the collection of species data for scientists, and hinders
source of food. Warmer, tropical areas of the ocean which are species and populations are decreasing and becoming endangered. their ability to monitor shark and help them. Lastly, shark
close to the equator are home to fishes like the barracuda, Within the problem of fisheries, there is one specific environmental finning is wasteful. The bodies are thrown back into the water
which finds most of its food around coral reefs. Colder parts threat that has and valuable proteins are discarded.
of the ocean are the habitat for fish like salmon and bass, and recently The United Nations Convention on the Trade of
there are many more types and numbers of fish then in become more Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna have already listed
warmer water because colder water holds more oxygen. and more of a the whale shark, basking shark, and great white shark as
Animals like the barracuda, whose body allows it to weave problem. This species that could be threatened if shark finning is not
seamlessly and quickly through the reefs, have made specific issue is called controlled. Many laws have already been put into place
adaptations to coincide with their habitats. shark finning, banning shark finning, but that doesn’t stop many fisheries. If
Vegetation within the ocean includes algae, and it has also this horrible act does not stop sometime soon, we are in grave
plankton, and coral. Algae includes all the different types of become more danger of loosing all the world’s sharks, and that would be a
seaweeds in the ocean. Marine algae consumes carbon publicized in true devastation.
dioxide from the atmosphere and produces over 50% of the the past few
atmospheres oxygen. All types of algae include chlorophyll years. Shark
but not all can perform photosynthesis. Within the pyramid of finning poses
energy algae is the producer. Plankton is usually divided into problems for
through trophic levels, the phytoplankton who are producers, not only the animals in the water, but also for local fisheries,
the zooplankton who are carnivores, and the bacterioplankton scientists, and neighboring countries.
who are recyclers, and obtain energy by consuming organic Shark finning refers to a process of catching sharks at sea,
material produced by other organisms. removing and keeping the fins, and discarding the carcasses back
The open ocean ecosystems have several different into the sea. A lot of times the sharks are still alive after this brutal
zones. The first zone is the pelagic zone, which is the area process, and they are unable to swim and sink to the ocean floor and
from the surface of the water to the floor of the ocean. The die there. The price for shark fins is very high and is growing, but the
pelagic zone is divided into the photic zone, and the larger price for shark meat is relatively low and therefore it is costly to
aphotic zone below that. Then there is the abyssal zone, transport the bodies back along with the fins. The method of
below the pelagic, which is the deepest region of the ocean. catching the sharks is called long lining, and it is responsible for the
Finally there is the benthic zone, which is the zone along the most shark deaths worldwide. The reason that shark finning has
ocean floor. The average temperature of the ocean is 39°, and increased so much recently is because of the growing demand for
the top ten feet of the ocean water can hold as much heat as shark fins for things like Chinese shark fin soup, traditional cures,
our entire atmosphere. improved fishing technology, and improved market economics.