In disturbing photos from the Florida Keys and beach on Singer Island, sharks fins, often sold on the black market, lay lifeless and defenseless. The fins in the Keys were discovered by state and federal officials investigating a commercial fishing vessel.
“Chances are most people will never see a shark except you know, unfortunately now that they’re going to see these fins on the news but they gotta know, that when they see these fins, it represents a critical animal for our planet,” said conservationist George Schellenger.
Schellenger works for the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, a marine research, and education organization aimed at conserving the environment.
Part of the work they do involves tagging and tracking tiger and mako sharks.
The mako population has been hit hard.
“Eight years we’ve spent in the field, and we still don’t have a really good estimate of how many sharks there are. All we know is 30 percent of our sharks tagged have been taken,” he said.
Schellenger says it’s likely these fins will be sent to the Far East.
“They will end up in the shark fin trade,” he said.
The shark fin itself is tasteless but eating the soup is a symbol of prestige.
The fewer sharks in the water, the more the food chain is disrupted.
“Some say if you take all the sharks out of the ocean, you’re just going to be left with a bunch of jellyfish,” he said.
The species of the shark fins found on the ship will be identified, and it could lead to even more charges depending on the type.
It’s illegal to take a fin off of a shark at sea.