"After being tossed back into the water, the sharks sink further and further; there's no survival or escape," Joanna Grossman, federal policy advisor for the Animal Welfare Institute, told The Dodo. "The animals eventually bleed out and succumb to their injuries, or die from starvation, suffocation, or predation. It's difficult to say exactly how long a shark will remain alive after being finned. For some animals, a slow and painful death awaits while struggling to breathe at the bottom of the ocean; others might be attacked and eaten fairly quickly after being tossed overboard."
China is the biggest importer of shark fins, Stokes explained, and the majority of shark fins enter China through Hong Kong. "Hong Kong is the hub," Stokes said. "It's ground zero for shark fin."