If shark conservation isn’t your thing, and you are one of the people creating a worldwide demand for shark fin soup, think about this next time you slurp: filmmaker and activist Jonathan Ali Khan is presenting a new TV documentary in the United Arab Emirates on the health risks of eating shark meat, the Gulf News reports.
Collecting footage for the NGO Shark Quest Arabia, we featured Jonathan Ali Khan here. His new show will document in detail how sharks, high on the food chain in the marine ecosystem, have dangerously high levels of mercury. This metal is linked to brain damage and infertility.
Working on sampling for mercury levels in the Gulf “You need testing from fishing and landing sites, biopsy samples. You need a small tissue or blood specimen. But some fishermen don’t take too kindly to that — they’re getting a bit more defensive,” Ali Khan said.
Our own reporter Tafline went undercover and took pictures of sharks in a fish market in Dubai, where they are sold openly even though it is not lawful to do so. Even mainstream grocery stores throughout the Gulf country stock sharks that have not yet had a chance to mature.
Mercury flows to the ocean via industrial processes and the metal is stored in the fat of the sharks over time. We hope that Ali Khan’s documentary will scare people away from eating shark meat and shark fins.
In the Middle East sharks are poached illegally for their fins and meat. Although shark fins are nothing more than rubber cartilage, I guess people like eating shark because it makes them feel omnipotent.
We recently reported that Red Sea sharks face extinction because no one in Egypt is monitoring illegal poaching, and fishermen are culling the animals en masse to satisfy a steady demand for shark fin soup. Pretty soon there may be no more sharks left thanks to this idiotic fetish.
:: Gulf News
More on the threats to Sharks in the Middle East: