I was shocked to learn that due to the increased prestige associated with serving the delicacy of shark fin soup, 100 million sharks are killed for their fins annually.
The world's shark population has declined by 90%.
Considering that the sharks are the top predator of the ocean (2/3 of earth's surface), the consequences of their destruction is immeasurable. Case in point - phytoplankton converts the global warming gas carbon dioxide into oxygen. We get 70% of our oxygen from phytoplankton. If we eliminate sharks, plankton eating fish will flourish and this alone could be disastrous for all mankind.
"I think the problem is, that we don't understand what we are. In essence we're, uh, you know, just a conceited naked ape, but in our minds we're some sort of divine legend and we see ourselves as some sort of god, that we can just walk around the Earth deciding who will live and who will die, and what will be destroyed and what will be saved. But the fact is, we're just a bunch of primates out of control."
~ Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society