Sharks Need Protection —From People
Eight species could get protection
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2010 3:42 PM CDT
A Great White Shark is attracted by a lure on the 'Shark Lady Adventure Tour' on October 19, 2009 in Gansbaai, South Africa.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Sharks are fearsome predators, but they are no match for fishermen. Caught and eaten in soup or used in skin-care products and nutritional supplements, sharks are in danger of extinction. They may get help at this week's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. One proposal would protect eight species, though enforcement will be difficult, given the booming, unregulated Hong Kong market and the Chinese middle class's nearly insatiable desire for shark-fin soup.

Demand for fin soup has created a wasteful practice known as "finning"—fisherman simply cut the fin off and discard the rest of the animal. Failing to protect sharks could have devastating consequences for the ecosystem because they're at the top of the food chain, so their absence can create unpredictable ripple effects. The provisions at CITES would require export permits for shark fisherman, while pending US legislation would restrict finning, Fast Company reports.