Shark Deaths Throwing Off Ocean Balance

An ocean devoid of life is a difficult concept to digest, but we are heading in that direction.  We are currently deconstructing the foundation of the intricately balanced web that supports all marine life.  From microscopic plankton to the largest blue whale, they all depend upon the continuation of a mathematical equation, a system of checks and balances that insure the survival of each species.

If there is even a minor quantity change in any member species, it upsets the universal balance. A species removed from the system results in an accumulation of their food source and starvation of their predators. This event then effects the next species predator/prey and so on.

So what happens when an entire super-order of fish, is removed from the oceans on a global scale?  This is happening now.  According to a recent Pew Foundation study, sharks are being removed from the ocean at a rate of about 100,000,000 annually.  This is unsustainable for sharks and is having a decimating effect on the world’s fisheries and the health of all marine ecosystems. When an apex predator is removed from a community, sick animals are left to spread disease, the food source of the prey species cannot support the newly expanded population.  When the food disappears, the consumers starve to death.

Exact estimates conflict, but all studies agree that human are heavily dependent upon the oceans for their food.  The Pew Foundation also reports that over 80% of large ocean mega-fauna has disappeared in the last twenty years.  If this trend continues, we will be facing an escalating amount of human starvation at a time when our oceans may not be able to recover.

Right now there is a pivotal bill in the California Senate that would ban shark fins from the entire state.  Currently sharks are being finned primarily for the value of their fins which are then used in a soup symbolizing celebration and success.  This bill will not only help by preventing interstate fin sales, but it will influence the entire market thought the Americas because California is the port of choice for the fin trade.  Forcing finners to use other ports will make this wasteful practice much less profitable and therefore less appealing.  Please join us in promoting this  legislation, by signing our petition, and or helping us spread the word about this August 15th vote.

Take Action Now

Related Stories:

The $1.9 Million Sharks of Palau (Video)

Fishermen Caught Hunting Sharks in Galapagos National Park

Yes, Chinese Culture Will Survive Without Shark Fin Soup

Photo Credit: Willy Volk


William C
William C2 months ago

Thanks for caring.

W. C
W. C2 months ago

Thank you.

Fiona T.
Past Member 4 years ago

Don't forget a balance ecosystem needs them

LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Sad, thank you.

LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Sad, thank you.

Abc D.
Past Member 5 years ago

The UN, many countries, needs to put at least 65% of the ocean under protection. Probably 90% or more of the fish caught are not even eaten--it is just overfishing. There is also too much pollution being dumped into the ocean. Supposedly, currently, only 1% of the ocean is protected.

Andrea A.
Andrea A5 years ago


Janine H.
Janine H6 years ago

This is a very sad story. An other animal has to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day).

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Mariana Kendall
Mariana Kendall6 years ago

This is terrible. But if you think about it, it isn't just those specific countries. It's us. It's the entire human race. What WE are doing to one of our world's greatest natural resources is just sick. WE are killing the fish. WE are killing the coral. WE are killing the plankton. WE are hurting our whole world's ecosystem. WE ALL started this, and now WE have to end it.
So don't blame it on Asia, don't blame it on the Netherlands, don't blame it on anyone but YOU.

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y6 years ago

Specific example: explosion of urchin and starfish populations when top predators such as otters, sharks and rays are removed from the littoral zone. The effect here in CA has been decimation of the kelp beds which support the north coast ecosystem.

Saving sea otters has helped, but 'urchin barrens' are still a common phenomenon. We need to restore sharks and rays to their former numbers, and enforce catch limits in order to have sustainable coastal fisheries. Good stewardship is also good economics.