Cities go 'fin free' to curb the slaughter of sharks

ALMOST 200,000 sharks are killed each day, some for the prized shark fin soup.

UnderWater World curator Mark Smith said the Fin Free Cities campaign, which was launched across Australia yesterday, aimed to curb the sale and consumption of shark fins.

"Many sharks are fished for their fins around the world and in Australia," he said.

"It's a really abhorrent practice, they actually remove the fins from the sharks and leave the sharks, still alive and let them go back into the ocean.

"The shark perishes on the sea floor."

Mr Smith said endangered species, hammerhead sharks and swordfishes, were favourites and their fins prized.

He said in most cases the fins were used in traditional Asian medicine, particularly shark fin soup.

"There actually is no medicinal benefit in the shark fin soup, but it's associated with affluence," he said.

Mr Smith said he was not aware of shark fins being sold on the Coast, however shark fin soup was available locally.

He said there was a global increase in shark harvesting, partially driven by shark finning.

"Really think before you buy any products related to sharks, whether it be teeth, fins, or eating shark fin soup," Mr Smith said.

"If you feel really strongly about it, and many of us do, write to your local member and we have the opportunity for people to sign a petition."

Fin Free Cities has been launched to coincide with the Discovery Channel's Shark Week and UnderWater World is asking guests to sign the pledge at

The aim is to achieve 100,000 signatures by the end of 2014.