Millions of sharks are finned every year for the global shark-fin soup trade

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Jan. 7, 2011 - A photo released today by the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium shows a finned shark caught in partnership with Delaware State University during a New York Seascape study in Delaware Bay.  The photo shows where the dorsal and pectoral fins were removed.  The female sand tiger shark had no anal fins, and most of its tail fin had been removed. Shark finning – the practice of cutting the fins off of a live shark and returning the crippled animal to the water to die – is illegal in the United States.

“This disturbing find is a reminder about the ongoing threats to vulnerable shark populations and the need for expanded education to ensure compliance with U.S. fishing laws,” said Jon Dohlin, Director of WCS’s New York Aquarium.

There is no way to tell when the shark in this photo was finned, or how long it would live.  Finning is a major threat to shark populations around the world. Earlier research supported by WCS estimated that as many as 73 million sharks are finned annually for the shark fin soup trade.  Federal regulations have made it illegal to fish for this species – commercially and recreationally – in Atlantic waters of the U.S since 1997.  

The New York Seascape, part of WCS’s A Sea Change initiative, will be a featured component of the new “Ocean Wonders” shark exhibit scheduled to start construction in 2012.  .

Photo Credit: © WCS
Barbara Russo – 718-265-3428;
Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182;
Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189; 

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide.  We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo.  Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony.  WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium opens every day of the year at 10am, and closing times vary seasonally. Admission is $13.00 for adults, $9.00 for children ages 3-12 and $10.00 for senior citizens (65 and older); children under 3 years of age are admitted free. Fridays after 3pm, admission is by suggested donation. The Aquarium is located on Surf Avenue at West 8th Street in Coney Island. For directions, information on public events and programs, and other Aquarium information, call 718-265-FISH or visit our web site at Now is the perfect time to visit and show support for the New York Aquarium, Brooklyn's most heavily attended attraction and a beloved part of the City of New York.

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