Student Research

Environmental Consequences of the Shark Fin Trade

GMA 400 - Senior Seminar Research

Many countries legally prohibit the shark fin trade; however, it is still an ongoing problem to protect the lives of one of the ocean’s top apex-predator. In Asian countries, there is a high demand for shark fins, especially in Hong Kong and China, as they use the fins to produce shark fin soup. Due to the high demand, sharks are depleting at a rapid rate, and it is affecting the oceanic ecosystems. In order to help this apex predator, policymakers need to become more aware that sharks are an essential species in the marine ecosystem. This thesis seeks to explore the shark fin trade and the effects that it will have on the marine ecosystem in the future. Extensive background research on shark behavior, shark biology, and an examination of ecotourism will be used to identify and answer essential questions in the protection of sharks. Ultimately, this thesis seeks to find the best solutions and legislation for protecting sharks at the international level through institutions and the creation of the first shark commission.