Matt Rand, Director of Global Shark Conservation of the PEW Environment Group has been featured in a video on YouTube emphasizing that shark conservation should be a priority as the outcome of removing them for a tourist oriented economy like that of The Bahamas is potentially devastating:
“Here in The Bahamas, shark tourism activity actually brings in $78 million into the economy annually and reef sharks here are actually estimated to be about $250,000 each for shark tourism and shark related activities here in The Bahamas. So it is an important economic driver and it’s a sustainable situation. If you leave the sharks in the water, keep them healthy as you currently have them, and keep the ecosystem healthy right now then you will have this resource for future generations to come, so that the kids will actually be able to see a healthy ocean environment as well.”
He goes on to link the shark finning industry with “an Asian obsession with shark fin soup.”
“Unfortunately, because of their value in a bowl of soup, up to 73 million sharks are killed annually, just so their fins can end up in soup. It is a luxury item, it is not a food item. And what this is causing very rapidly is a global depletion of sharks. Right now 38% of shark species that are in the world’s oceans are threatened, or are near threatened with extinction; and those are just the ones that we know. We also know that that statistic is actually short,” said Rand.