It's estimated that between 100 – 150 million sharks are killed each year…primarily for use in shark fin soup. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in some cultures and has increased dramatically in popularity over the past two decades. It's a symbol of wealth and served as a display of respect. Unfortunately, the demand for this soup is causing the decimation of an entire species and is tipping the balance scales of our ocean's ecosystem at a terrifying rate.

Unsustainable fishing practices have developed to keep up with the demand of shark fin soup. Long-lining is the most common way to catch sharks, and shark finning has rapidly become the predominant and most profitable method for obtaining shark fins. The practice of “finning” involves catching a shark, cutting off the fins, and then throwing the live shark back into the ocean. Unable to swim or to propel themselves forward, finned sharks sink to the bottom of the ocean and since most species of shark need to move forward in order to breathe, they eventually die of suffocation; a slow and agonizing death.

Sharks are the world's oldest apex predator and have been on the planet virtually unchanged for approximately 400 million years. Since all life on this planet began in the ocean, the shark has shaped the evolution of nearly all other living things. They keep the oceans in balance and are an essential part of the ecosystem. Without sharks, we will most certainly be affected and are bound to create an ecological disaster.

The ocean is the life support system of this planet and nearly 80% of all life on Earth exists underwater. There is a wide range of species dying as a direct result of the finning industry that extends way beyond sharks. It is estimated that the shark population has already declined 80% and many species are already on the endangered list.
This footage was shot in Cocos Island, Costa Rica by Tobias Meinken an accomplished Dive Master, videographer, and devoted shark lover.

Cocos Island is home to the largest congregation of sharks in the world. This is an extremely remote island located approximately 350 miles off the coast of Costa Rica in the Pacific Ocean. Established as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, and protected by law, sharks here in Cocos are still subject to illegal long-lining, poaching, and finning. Though laws are in place, many countries have problems enforcing the laws and prosecuting offenders.

Music written and performed by:
Joe Thalman and Derrick Tanner
Editing by:
Bob Beresh

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