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Harbin's shark-fin trade

Readinch

San Francisco-based non-profit, Pacific Environment and its Chinese non-profit partner Green Longjiang, just released this report in Chinese on the shark fin trade increasing in the city of Harbin.  Apart from de-finning being a cruel practice, sharks are top predators without which whole ecosystems collapse.  The most powerful example of this phenomenon that I have seen is the extermination of the grey wolves of Yellowstone National Park, here in the United States.  In the 1920s, the U.S. government exterminated all wild wolves in the park to protect cattle ranchers.  After that point, the elk and other herbivores were free to eat everything they could and multiply, destroying the forests of the park. In 1995, after the Endangered Species Act was passed, wolves were reintroduced to the park and within only a few years, the trees were growing back.  The images on this NRDC blog post dramatically illustrate the difference. 

The case for sharks lacks a famous illustration or example. There is comparatively little research on the impact of sharks on their environment, partially because it is impossible to isolate a section of the ocean and compare it with and without sharks. This blog post had a good picture of a reef without sharks.  In the same way that wolves protect trees from elk, sharks protect coral reefs from algae growths by eating the predators of small algae-eating fish. Without sharks, smaller predators multiply and eat all the algae-eating fish, allowing the algae to destroy the reef.  Data in 2006 indicated that 73 million sharks were removed from the oceans every year.

The report indicates the predictable, but disturbing trend of wildlife consumption expanding into new cultural and geographic areas due to increasing affluence.  Despite the efforts of many non-profits--I particularly liked WildAid's video campaign in 2008--and the Traditional Chinese Medicine community offering synthetic substitutes, it is still fashionable to consume exotic wildlife in China.  China needs a great push, mostly from student groups and non-profits like Green Longjiang, to educate newly middle class citizens on the impacts of their purchases--someone needs to figure out how to make it un-cool to eat shark fin.

Look out for an up-coming article from us on shark consumption in China. 

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谁是真正的食肉动物?

鲨鱼攻击人类是很罕见的。所以当这样的事件发生才会成为新闻。而人类过度捕杀鲨鱼却往往被忽视,但是最终,这引起了广泛的重视。

许多专家认为,由于对“鱼翅”的追捧导致的全球多个地区对鲨鱼的过度捕杀,必然导致鲨鱼数量的降低。虽然鲨鱼看上去很凶猛,但其实是非常脆弱的,如果让他们自生自灭,这些鱼有很长的生命周期,成熟较晚而且繁殖缓慢。如果在幼年时期就被捕杀,则没有足够的时间繁衍后代,继而导致鲨鱼数量的下降。这样的行为不仅仅是杀害了一头鲨鱼,而是一起杀害了它的后代。而当鲨鱼仅仅被割下鱼鳍而丢回大海,它也会很快死去,不是沉入海底就是失血过多。

像野生救援组之类的组织致力于结束因鲨鱼鱼鳍造成的滥捕滥杀,他们应该得到更广泛且有力的支持 - MEB

Who's the real predator?

Shark attacks on people are rare. That's why they make news. Humans' more plentiful attacks on sharks mostly go unnoticed, but they are finally beginning to get the serious attention that they deserve.

Many experts believe shark populations are destined for collapse, due to overfishing in many areas of the world and the awful practice of "finning". Although they may look fierce, sharks are vulnerable: left to themselves, these fish live long lives, mature late and reproduce slowly. When they're caught and killed young, they have not had sufficient time to reproduce, so the population numbers drop. It is not only individual fish but also their future offsping that are lost. When a shark is caught for its fins alone, the rest of it is thrown back into the sea, where the fish is left to drown or bleed to death.

Groups like WildAid deserve strong support for their efforts to end the demand for shark fins and the cruelty that is finning. -- MEB


中产阶级

中国没有中产阶级,只有暴发户和富二代。

The middle class

China doesn't have a middle class, it only has the nouveau riche and the Fu Er Dai (the second generation of a rich family).


残忍

人類是最殘酷的動物, 甚麼也可以吃下, 比野獸更凶殘, 因為野獸只會選擇某種食物

Cruelty

Mankind is the most bloodthirsty of all the animals. He'll eat anything he can get. He's more ferocious than a wild animal because wild animals are selective about what they eat.


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