This post is an excerpt from this blog from CI's Scott Henderson, who has lived and worked in the Galápagos Islands for more than 20 years.
Shark Week is with us again, and so is all the gore regarding the bloodthirsty habits of these ocean predators. So, just how voracious are these "man-eaters"?
Each year, there are about 10 fatal shark attacks on humans. In stark contrast, humans kill millions of sharks every year - mostly destined for the Chinese market as the key ingredient for the tasteless, nutrition-less status dish known as shark fin soup.
In the Galápagos, we don't eat our sharks, even though they are - so to speak - our bread and butter. In fact, all shark fishing is banned within the Galápagos Marine Reserve, and in a groundbreaking effort a few years ago, the Ecuadorian government outlawed all targeted shark fishing in Ecuadorian national waters.
If there is such a high demand for sharks and the Chinese are paying so well, why would a nation do this? Indeed, why have over a dozen additional nations, including the Bahamas, Maldives, Palau, Honduras and others followed suit? And why have a growing number of U.S. states, including California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Illinois, gone even farther to outlaw the commerce of shark fins within their borders?