Protesters Demonstrate Against Shark Fin Soup

Created: 2013-06-10 04:46 EST

Category: World

About 30 protesters demonstrate against the sales of shark fin soup in front of a MUJI shop in Tokyo on Sunday.

MUJI is a popular Japanese retail company known for minimalist designs in consumer and household products.

One of their products is shark fin soup.

Animal rights groups say fining is cruel because the shark is often still alive when the fin is removed and drowns when it is thrown back into the water.

The practice also poses a threat to several species that play a vital role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems, environmental groups add.

Elsewhere policy change is against shark fining is already taking place.

The European Union agreed on Thursday to tighten an existing ban on "shark fining", or slicing fins off sharks often while they are still alive.

Once the change comes into effect, the ban will forbid shark fining by all vessels in EU waters and by all EU-registered vessels anywhere in the world, a move its supporters believe will put pressure on countries where the practice is common.

A surge in demand for shark fins, mostly for soup and traditional medicine in Asia, and in particular China, means they can fetch up to 1,000 euros (1,300 U.S. dollars) each.

About one-third of all shark species are threatened with extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said.

Sharks are particularly vulnerable to over-fishing because of their slow growth rate and small number of young.