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Demand for shark fin is driving sharks to extinctionPhoto Credit: Justin Ebert
Shark populations face the threat of extinction in every part of the world primarily due to overfishing driven by the high demand for shark fins. However there are additional threats facing sharks that incude bycatch, where sharks are killed when other seafood is being targeted, recreational fishing, sharks being used for ingredients in cosmetics or health supplements, destruction of habitat and more.
Shark fins are now among the most expensive seafood products in the world, whereas the shark meat is often of low value, depending on the species. The disparity in value between fins and meat has led to the horrific practice of shark finning.
The growing demand for shark fin soup is decimating global shark populations.
Bycatch is when a species of fish or marine mammal is unintentionally caught while fishing for a specific "target" species.
Shark cartilage and shark liver oil are sold as cures for a host of ailments.
Other threats to sharks include shark nets, recreational fishing, sometimes just for bragging rights, and souvenirs.
Nearly every reef with people nearby has very few big fish left, whereas many remote reefs have greater abundance of large fish.