Until shark fins are banned in Delaware, we are connected to this horrible economy
Shark fin soup is driving an internatoinal market in the trade of shark fins - a market that threatens the ocean as we know it. As top predators in the ocean, sharks serve an important function; they balance the ecosystem. Removing too many predators will change ecosystems to such an extent that they devolve from complex systems to more simple ones. This occurs in a process called a “trophic cascade,” or an ecosystem-wide drop in trophic level (trophic level is an ecological term that describes the position that species hold in the hierarchy of levels in the food web – high trophic level species are predators, low trophic level species are predated upon).
In a cause-and-effect scenario, the removal of top trophic level predators in the ecosystem by overfishing creates conditions in which the low-tropic level creatures thrive. Ecologists contend that fishery collapse can launch a “regime shift” in the food web, with further devastating results for biodiversity and ecosystem health.
Since 1972 seven major species of eastern sharks have collapsed: Sandbar sharks have declined 87%, blacktip sharks 93%, tiger sharks 97%, scalloped hammerheads 98%, bull sharks 99%, dusky sharks 99%, and smooth hammerhead sharks 99%, Mako shark have experienced a 40% decline in their population between 1986 and 2000 alone.
Protecting sharks should be a top priority in maintaining the health and vigor of the marine ecosystem. As the leading cause of shark decline, shark finning is threating the very health of the oceans. Banning the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins in Delaware is a measure that our legislature can make to protect the future of life.