The Beacon

When will sharks catch a break?

The brutal practice of shark finning got a boost this week as the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a Hong Kong company should not have lost the proceeds from 64,695 pounds of shark fins seized by the Coast Guard in 2002.

Let me repeat that figure: 64,695 pounds of shark fins alone were on that boat. That's the weight of more than eleven Cadillac Escalades. Or eight female African elephants. Or 470 Oxford dictionaries.

Without knowing what species of sharks were on the boat, the King Diamond II, or the size of the sharks, it's hard to know how many sharks were killed. Consider this, however: A shark fin comprises just one to five percent of the animal's body weight. After the fins are sliced off, the sharks are thrown overboard to die.

Shark finning is illegal in the United States, but a loophole allowed the King Diamond II to carry shark fins it had collected from other fishing ships. A loophole big enough to drive a bevy of Escalades through? Time to close that one up.

[Image courtesy Sharkwater]


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