Despite the popular notion that sharks are a threat to human life, the reality is that we as humans form a bigger threat to the survival of sharks. In the Middle East, the growth of shark fishing and shark fining is becoming a serous threat to the shark population in Arabian waters.
Although the UAE passed a decree banning shark fining in 2008, the Gulf state is still a major hub for the sale of sharks and shark fins. It provides around 10% of the global supplies of shark fins.
Credit: Julia Spaet- PhD student at KAUST researching shark populations in the Red Sea.
A fish market in Iran. Oman along with Iran are another two countries who are contributing to the decline of the shark population by taking part in the lucrative shark fin trade.
Credit: Wojciech Kulik via picasa.
An Omani fish market where shark fining is still legal. In Oman, shark fining is not permitted at sea but allowed on land- conservationists have questioned whether this distinction makes any difference for the survival of the species.
Credit: Keith Wilson via Picasa.
A single shark fin can fetch more than $1,300- in the UAE the price of shark fins are rising as the numbers of sharks dwindle and the demand continues to grow. A bowl of shark fin soup can cost $100.
Credit: Lookslikeamy via flickr.
Sharks play important roles in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. As predators they help control the numbers of their prey so that they don’t grow to levels unsustainable for the ecosystem.
Credit: istolethetv via flickr.
A female hammerhead shark was recently killed along with its 45 pups in Dubai. Experts believe that sharks are disappeared around the globe at an alarming rate with some species down by 90 percent. The hammerhead shark- like the female and pups pictured here- is one of the worst affected species.
Credit: PhD student at KAUST researching shark populations in the Red Sea.
For more on sharks in the MidEast see: