Requesting that Alibaba.com remove all shark products available on their online html page and contribute to the recovery of over-exploited shark populations, many species of whom are Endangered or Critically Endangered.
Shark fin has become a billion-dollar global trade that causes the brutal deaths of tens of millions of sharks a year and has resulted in many open-ocean shark species being threatened with extinction. Shark extinction will trigger irreversible effects within ocean ecosystems and subsequently within many world economies. Many fish species will disappear, causing algae blooms, hypoxic, acidic and toxic waters where life cannot thrive. Commercial fishing industries will collapse and tourism will be greatly affected as will all related professional activities, resulting ultimately in a downturn of incomes and revenues on a grand and Global scale. Many fisheries operate with very little management or regulations. Only some governments have implemented any where shark is concerned. The greater percentage of this industry operates illegally, remaining unregulated and unreported and as such is likely to continue until not a single shark exists. This industry prevails as shark fins are in great demand to make a coveted Chinese banquet soup that can sell for upwards of $100 a bowl. Until this soup and other shark products are removed from all menus worldwide, illegal shark fishing and finning will never cease, therefore trade cessation can be the only avenue for swift action to this issue.
We, the undersigned have identified Alibaba.com as a platform for the sale and distribution of shark meat and by-products from their online html page and we believe it our responsibility as a community to expose some important underlying factors and further risks associated with consuming shark and their derived products.
- Shark meat is highly toxic to humans, containing levels of methyl mercury up to 67 times greater than those considered safe for human consumption. The health of every consumer is jeopardised by fisheries, wholesalers and retailers, caterers and restaurateurs, as the human organism assimilates and accumulates almost 100 percent of any methyl mercury ingested, which then passes through the blood-brain barrier. Methyl mercury has been known to cause to neurological damage such as amnesia, learning difficulties, early onset Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. It has been linked to certain cancers and causes male sterility. It also passes the placental barrier affecting the unborn foetus with physical malformations and moderate to severe brain damage. Mercury remains in the system for months- heat and cooking do not remove it. The maximum mercury intake allowed by the Joint FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization)/WHO (World Health Organization) Expert Committee on Food Additives is 0.23 micrograms per kilogram of body weight (16 micrograms for an individual weighing 70 Kg,) yet recent tests of blue sharks by Johannes Gutenberg University found levels up to 4,000 micrograms. A single 4-ounce (110-gram) serving of that shark contains a massive 455 micrograms of methyl mercury.
- Sharks grow slowly, sexually mature relatively late and produce few offspring very infrequently making them especially vulnerable to overfishing. Shark populations can take decades to recover. Documented studies find up to 73 million sharks are killed each year. Ecosystem models and field studies have shown that the loss of these top predators has had significant impacts on many marine ecosystems. As Sharks disappear, there is an initial proliferation of their prey species and these remove smaller fish and crustaceans responsible for removing algae from reefs. The algae blooms suffocate and kill coral very rapidly and the animals that live on these reef systems die within a few years for lack of food and habitat. But the initial increase in the number of sharks' prey species is of short duration. Without their predators to remove them, weak, diseased and infirm individuals go on to reproduce their diminished genes, reducing the vitality and longevity of the whole population, initiating the collapse of fisheries. Only small, non commercial, planktivorous fish thrive and the sheer volume of their numbers decimates the ocean's plankton. Plankton is responsible for producing 70% of the planet's oxygen and absorbing 80% of atmospheric CO2. This CO2 remaining unabsorbed only multiplies the greenhouse effect already present and the reduction of oxygen produced not only causes oceanic dead zones where nothing may live, but an increasingly unbreathable, oxygen impoverished air.
In the interest of human health, sustainable fishing and International economies, we, the undersigned, implore that shark products be removed and banned from Alibaba.com, so that Alibaba.com be a proud contributor to the end of this inhumane, environmentally and economically nefarious practice.be removed and banned from Alibaba.com, so that Alibaba.com be a proud contributor to the end of this inhumane, environmentally and economically nefarious practice and thank you for your attention in this matter.
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