The extinction of sharks

For over 450 million years sharks have inhabited this world. But now we are on the best way to eliminating the sharks within the next few years.

In contrast to normal fish the sharks have a particularly important role in the ocean. They are at the top of the food chain, keep fish stocks healthy, make sure that the number of animals remain stable and obtain the biological equilibrium of marine life.

The oceans are our largest suppliers of oxygen. They produce about 50% of our oxygen. Without sharks the biodiversity in the ocean is disappearing which will in the worst case withdraw the oxygen that is being produced for us humans.

On average about 700,000 tons of sharks are slaughtered each year. A shark caught weighs between 10 to 20 kilos, but from this weight mostly only the fins are transported for the popular asian shark fin soup.

There are approximately 73 million sharks that are caught and killed each year, usually with the brutal method of finning (see separate index). This corresponds to:

  • Per day:            200’000 sharks
  • Per hour:              8’334 sharks
  • Per minute:             139 sharks
  • Per second:                   3 sharks

Some sources even report that up to 200 million sharks are dying each year (figures can vary). These figures are so incredible that one is tempted not to believe them. 

In the major parts of the oceans the sharks have declined in the last 20 years by more than 90 percent. This problem is intensified by the slow reproduction rates of the sharks, which have a very late sexual maturity, many types reaching that state at the age of 15 years. In addition, many species only have one offspring per year. Many species are unable to replace the vast quantities of dead animals lost for the commercial usage of shark fins making their numbers shrink more and more.

The Red List of IUCN (The World Conservation Union) collects threatened animal and plant species. It already contains many species of sharks.