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Shark Fin

By Tess Middleton, Fin Free Albury Wodonga

Many people think an ocean full of sharks is scary, but to consider the consequences of an ocean without sharks is even scarier. Unfortunately this thought is quickly becoming a reality with at least 25% of all shark species now endangered.

So what’s fuelling this rapid loss of sharks? What could possibly cause the global shark population to decline by 90%?  The answer is three words; SHARK FIN SOUP. Annually 73 – 100 MILLION sharks are slaughtered for their fins. You may think what does shark fin soup have to do with me buying fish and chips on the border?

Flake is shark, this you may already know, but are you aware of what shark though? There is a high chance you don’t due to lax labelling laws in Australia. Irrespective of species, the fins from sharks killed for flake are sold overseas to Asian markets for shark fin soup; this is where you come into it – by purchasing flake in your fish and chips you are actually supporting the global shark fin trade!

Not only is flake unsustainable and adding to a cruel practice that will soon destroy our ocean ecosystem, but flake is extremely damaging to your health. That’s right; sharks are more dangerous to you in a Fish & Chip shop than in the ocean! Why? Because of the high levels of mercury found flake, through independent testing, it was found these levels are dangerous for human consumption; these levels can cause pregnant women to miscarry, cause Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease just to list a few!

This is why Fin Free Albury Wodonga started; to end the sale of flake and shark products, such as shark cartilage & shark liver oil, on the border and surrounding regions.

Fin Free Albury Wodonga was established in March 2014 by Tess Middleton and has been successful in its efforts to end the sale and consumption of flake and shark products; there is still a lot of work to do but it comes down to public education; once people are aware of how dangerous and unsustainable flake is the demand for it will disappear which leads the supplier to end their purchase of these products. When the demand ends so will the slaughter.

Tess is happy to work with all businesses, large and small, to help them choose more sustainable & less dangerous options for their menus as well as involve the public to create a more sustainable community.

Please email tess.middleton@hotmail.com for further information and for your full Sustainable Seafood Guide visit www.sustainableseafood.org.au.