Good news for sharks and those trying to keep them from getting killed to have their fins turned into soup. A new study shows that shark eco-tourism will be worth a lot more than shark fisheries. If profit is what drove people to slash sharks, then those looking to cash in on shark fin soup will no longer be the big winners, as the study by the University of British Columbia in Canada proved these magnificent beasts of the oceans are worth a lot more alive.
Right now, shark eco-tourism yields about $US314 million per year across the globe but will grow to $US780 million over the next 20 years, the study claims. Shark fisheries worldwide currently generate $US630 million and the number has been going down over the last decade.
As the eco trends take over and the shark population decreases, it will get to cost quite a bit to kill sharks for soup. In 2009 alone, 38 million sharks were butchered to meet the demand of Asia. At the same time, shark watching and diving with sharks have become top activities in both popularity and revenues in several areas around the pacific. Shark sanctuaries have been created in Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Palau and Tokelau.
“Something that is being done all over the world .. has been putting in shark protection areas. These are large expanses of marine protected areas where shark fishing is either banned or very strictly controlled,” said the lead author, Andres Cisneros-Montemayor from UBC. “We’ve seen little by little more and more governments trying to do it, and one major reason for that is the emergence of shark eco-tourism. So when governments notice that their citizens are making a lot of money from tourism activity centered around sharks, they are much more willing to protect them.”
The study will surely power activities of wild life protection NGOs and nature lovers across the globe. People are certainly more inclined to protect the planet and its wild life if they see a way of making money out of it and if financial gain is what powers policies issued by governments worldwide, then by all means, let’s hope for more research proving saving the planet is profitable.
While anyone would expect humans to realize no more planet means no more revenue, apparently we need a few more pushes to start acting on it, and this study is a first step.