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Shark Finning On CNN December 11th
By Jason Heller, December 10, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Thursday December 11th, please tune in to CNN for Planet in Peril: Battle Lines, where the focus will be on the global shark finning crisis, an issue near and dear to our hearts. CNN actually ran a precursor on their website this week. Hopefully increased global media coverage of the rampant problem will create more advocates in the consumer base and more importantly in international governments. The program on CNN will focus specifically on Cocos Island Costa Rica, Indonesia and Singapore. Although shark fin soup has been a delicacy in Asia for generations, the decimation of shark populations around the world is removing the apex predatory from an ecosystem that in the long term, humans need in order to survive. Shark finning is not sustainable, often illegal, and the harvesting methods produce significant bycatch of other unintended species. Why does it continue? Because it is lucrative. A bowl of shark fin soup can sell for anywhere between $30 and $100.The fins are easy for boats to transport and have an exponentially greater value than the rest of the shark. Often the sharks are finned alive and their bodies thrown overboard to die a slow and painful death.

One of our good friends, Shawn Heinrichs, has been working in Southeast Asia for the last couple of years documenting the shark fin trade, specifically in Indonesia and Singapore. His fervor to document the extent of the shark finning  problem started unintentionally while diving in Raja Ampat, one of our favorite dive destinations, and one of the most bio-diverse marine ecosystems on earth. Shawn had witnessed local fishermen finning sharks on the very reefs that he was diving. In fact, his short video of the incident won first place in our 2006 Wetpixel & DivePhotoGuide international video competition at Our World Underwater. In conjunction with the Planet in Peril shark finning program (which Shawn contributed to), CNN ran his story on the Anderson Cooper 360 blog this week. We congratulate Shawn on his determination to further the cause and additionally thank CNN for giving this rampant issue the global scale attention it deserves.
So please, tell everyone you know, particularly those who are unaware of the ramifications of shark finning, to tune in Thurs Dec 11th to CNN's Planet in Peril: Battle Lines. It's important for people to understand the gravity of the problem, only then can solutions be attained.

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