Last week, Oceana joined a diver-organized drive asking Amazon.com to remove canned shark fin soup and other shark fin products from its virtual shelves.
After only a few days of bad product reviews and emails sent by divers (not to mention 13,000 emails sent by our Wavemakers), Amazon.com has pulled the soup, but vitamins derived from shark fin cartilage remain available.
While the Amazon effort focused on shark finning, this deplorable practice is just one of the many threats to sharks. Sharks are also caught as bycatch by several types of fishing gear, including longlines, trawls and gillnets. Globally, it is estimated that as many sharks are caught as bycatch as are taken in targeted shark fisheries.
Shark finning and bycatch are two of the major factors contributing to decreasing shark populations, who as apex predators (the top of the food chain) play a significant role in ocean ecosystem health.
Thanks to the divers of ScubaBoard for bringing the Amazon.com sales to public attention, and thanks to everyone who joined their efforts.
Stay tuned for our next episode.