(3)Oil extracted from the livers of sharks is becoming increasingly popular as a booster for the immune systemand even as a way of preventing cancer.Looking at industrial usage, the squalene from sharks is, for example, used as a basis for lubricants andcleaning agents, even though the equivalent squalene compound can be got from plants.Shark-based squalene has a readily available substitute on the market that comes from a purely vegetableorigin. Squalene can be obtained from olives (a component of olive oil) and it has the same qualities of animal-based squalene and is less expensive than the animal version.
Shark fin trade
The most damaging to sharks, it would appear that very few sharks are safe from this.Finning is a terribly destructive practice that involves catching a shark, cutting off its fins and discarding therest of the animal, which is often thrown back into the water to die.As many as 100 million sharks die in this way every year, causing immense damage to shark populations.Shark fins are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, notably East Asia. A bowl of shark’s fin soupcan fetch as much as $100, making sharks highly profitable for fishermen and the demand for them is risingas the Asian population grows.Some countries, notably the USA, have banned shark finning in the last few years, but such bans are difficultto enforce elsewhere, especially as sharks regularly migrate across international boundaries. Finning is stillpractised all over the world, in places as far apart as South America and Australia, and many species aredeclining as a result. Blue sharks in particular are at great risk, and some authorities estimate that 90% of finsare gathered from this one species alone.Like hundreds of other fish species, sharks are under increasing pressure from the global fishing industry. Asstocks of edible fish decline all over the world, many fishing fleets are turning to sharks as an alternative foodsource, with potentially catastrophic effects, not just on shark populations, but on the marine ecosystem too.Shark populations take a long time to recover from overfishing. They grow very slowly and take a long time toreach sexual maturity – 20 years or more in some species. When they do reproduce, they produce very fewoffspring compared to other food fish species. These factors have already endangered several species of shark, particularly in coastal areas with large populations to feed, such as the North Atlantic coast of America.The decline in the number of sharks has serious consequences for the ecosystems in which they live. Sharksare a vital part of the food chain, and their predatory nature helps to keep populations of their prey species in
Author: Nigel Hulbert