The future looks bleak for Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks.
Images from Sanya, a fish market located in China’s Hainan Province, have angered netizens worldwide. Apparently, the Chinese have been selling Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, an endangered species, in their hundreds for food.
According to China Daily, the sharks are being sold for $4.6 a kilo. It is believed that they were killed for their fins, which command a higher price than their meat.
Of course, shark fin is the main ingredient of the famous shark fin soup, the expensive Chinese delicacy you have probably heard of or had the pleasure of eating.
Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks are the most common species of Hammerhead Sharks. They live in-between warm temperate and tropical waters close to shores and can dive to depths up to 500 meters.
The sharks were placed on the “globally endangered” species list back in 2008 after researchers discovered a perceptible 95 percent decline in their population in just a short 30-year span, mainly attributed to the overfishing of the species for their fins.
The fact that there is even an outcry is thanks to the increasing importance social media has had in bringing important topics to global awareness. Popular Chinese social media platform WeChat is said to have been the first to circulate the controversial pictures.
China is in fact is a signatory to an international treaty restricting the sale of Scalloped Hammerheads; however, the recent discovery points to a lack of enforcement of any regulations the country’s government might have in instituted.
Chinese fishermen, who have long made a living from fishing these sharks, are largely unaware that the species are endangered. Authorities are investigating the incident.
Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks aside, other animals the Chinese are eating into extinction include tigers, bears, pangolins and many species of turtles.
While China is not the only culprit in the consumption of rare animals, it’s without a question the biggest. And its impact is being felt across the region. What can be done to discourage them?