Shark fishing in Lombok: Detached fins – Oceanographic
Buyers gather around the dead animals to bid on shark meat, bones, skin and, of course, fins. While the skin is made into dog bags, wallets, or treats, bone powder is considered a Chinese medicine. The meat, although of low monetary value, is usually processed into inexpensive seafood. The most beloved commodity, however, is the fin – also considered an article of Chinese medicine and a status symbol for the wealthy.
After being cut, processed and dried, the fins are shipped to markets in the East at very high prices – up to $ 650 per kilogram, according to Federico. Indeed, shark finning is a big deal. While the annual global shark fin trade is approximately USD 540 million, it is estimated that up to 73 million sharks are killed for their fins per year. Most of these are found in shark fin soup which is said to have several health benefits such as improved skin quality or sexual potency throughout Asia. There is no scientific proof for this.
While the popularity of shark fins in China as a traditional medicine has been the main driver of the millions of sharks killed each year, demand has also increased dramatically in other Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, according to one. WildAid report.
The small shark fishing village of Tanjung vividly portrays the very beginning of this international trade. Indonesia is the third largest shark fin exporter in terms of quantity. Federico recalls: “Much of the island’s economy is centered around shark fishing. In fact, hundreds of people make a living from shark fishing here, but it’s easy to forget that the fishermen aren’t to blame. For them, it is a job that pays for the education of their children and the food they eat daily. With no other major source of income in the village and island of Lombok, shark fishing has been lucrative work for many and for entire families for decades.