Though shark fins are valuable, other shark meat is worth considerably less. Keeping the rest of the shark on board would reduce the space available on the boat for the fins. Thus, not throwing the shark overboard would be unprofitable. It’s very wasteful, and cruel to begin with, but shark finning is about profit.
Shark fins are popular because of their use in Chinese shark fin soup and as medicine. Shark finning has increased in recent years due to new technology and a higher demand for the fins. To save room on fishing boats, once the sharks’ fins are cut off, the sharks are thrown back into the water, where they are often eaten because they have limited mobility. Sometimes other shark byproducts are used, such as shark oil in cosmetics, shark skin in fashion and clothing, and shark meat in restaurants, but most often the shark is only caught for its fin, which is a wasteful practice. Shark meat is not very valuable, so fishermen can’t get as much money for the meat as they can for the fins, which leads to a greater desire and demand for the fins.
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