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January 5, 2012

Kind News Extra: How Kids Can Help Sharks

  • There are some 400 different species of sharks, including this whale shark. Wolcott Henry/Marine Photobank

Sharks are an important part of the world's oceans. At the top of their food chain, sharks help keep the population of other marine animals in balance.

A large drop in the number of sharks can cause serious problems for all ocean animals. Today, nearly one-third of 400 shark species are threatened with extinction, largely due to overfishing.

Each year, tens of millions of sharks are caught and killed just for their fins. The fins are used to make shark fin soup, a dish served at Chinese weddings and other special occasions.

Humane Society International is working to end shark finning in China and around the world. Taiwan has already banned shark finning, the first Asian country to do so.

Shark fin soup is also eaten in the United States. Several states, including Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and California, have recently passed laws against the sale of shark fins.

Sharks have roamed our oceans for 400 million years. With our help, they will continue to do so for many more. Here's what you can do. 

1. Learn all you can about sharks. Share what you know with others!

2. If you see shark fin on a restaurant menu, ask the management to stop serving it.

3. Do you live in a city that holds a Chinese New Year celebration? Ask officials to ban shark fin soup from the celebrations.

4. All along U.S. shores, fishermen compete in shark killing contests to see who can catch the largest or the most sharks. If you live near a place that holds shark tournaments, ask town officials to celebrate ocean life instead of destroying it.

5. See what kids in California have been doing to save sharks.

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