Al Jazeera feature on shark finning and dwindling shark numbers in Arabian sea

WARNING Video features multiple scenes of finning of shark carcasses

Al-Jazeera recently featured a story on the shark fin trade and its effects on shark populations in Arabian seas. According to the report, the waters of the Arabian Peninsula supply 10% of the world market of shark fins, most of which are sent to Asian markets, as demands for shark fin soup rise. The report notes that the shark fin market is indiscriminate, with pregnant females and juvenile sharks are being harvested for their fins.

Saoud Al-Habsi, of the Oman Fisheries Ministry, says that international action is needed quickly to protect species that are on the verge of becoming endangered in Arabian waters. However, many fishermen view harvesting sharks as a “gift from God” that should not be controlled by the government.

While the report essentially offers the same story we’ve unfortunately grown accustomed to on the subject of shark finning, most of the anti-shark finning features I’ve come across tend to be from Western media outlets. I found it interesting to get a Middle Eastern perspective on the topic. The “gift from God” argument is one that I had not really come across before. The report also addresses the issue that shark fishing provides for the livelihood of some of these fishermen, which certainly would present some opposition against regulating the industry. The problem that seems to escape some of these fishermen is that the indiscriminate killing of these species could ultimately lead to an end to the livelihood that these markets provide, if the species are fished to extinction.

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