It’s Shark Week! It’s my favorite time of year—sitting in front of the television and learning about one of the ocean’s apex predators. So naturally I was excited when Ruby Rose, fellow vegan and star of the new movie The Meg, appeared live on Shark After Dark, a talk show about the newly premiered shark episodes.
In a question to Rose, Shark After Dark host Julian McCullough hinted that the actor went vegan in part because of sharks. She explained:
I used to get something called “shark fin soup and I didn’t know. … I said to my mom, “Wait, is this made out of an actual shark’s fin? and she was like, “Oh no, darling, of course not. … I later found out that it was and ended up being so sad that I cried for three weeks. … I thought that it was even worse that they just cut the fins off and the sharks were out there not able to move. … That really scared me and I used to have nightmares that they were finless in the ocean and I couldn’t eat any fish ever again.
Throughout the remainder of the episode, with millions of shark enthusiasts watching, McCullough mentioned Rose’s lifestyle, with the actor smiling and giving a thumbs up to the camera.
Each year, a conservative estimate of 100 million sharks are killed by the commercial fishing industry for their meat and fins. Finless, sharks are unable to swim or breathe and sink to the bottom of the ocean to die.
But what’s really shocking is that an estimated 50 million sharks killed by the commercial fishing industry are unintentionally caught, or caught as “bycatch. This is from 12 million sharks killed annually throughout the 1990s. A large number of sharks are killed in driftnets and long lines, which decimate species like dusky sharks, bull sharks, and white sharks.
According to Ramón Bonfil of the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia, bottom trawl fisheries in coastal waters are the cause of the largest bycatches of sharks and rays, pulling large numbers of bottom-dwelling sharks onto fishing vessels. His research found that shrimp fisheries discard approximately 2,800 tons of sharks annually.
And while 95 percent of sharks caught as bycatch can easily be returned to the ocean (and can survive), the majority of these sharks are killed by fishermen. Because shark fins are the most expensive seafood product in the world today, there is little incentive to release sharks back to the ocean fully intact.
Watch a Mercy For Animals undercover video of the commercial fishing industry, showing sharks having their fins sliced off with a saw while fully conscious.
If we truly want to save the ocean’s most fascinating creatures, we must stop supporting the industries that are destroying them. This means we must stop eating fish.
Luckily, it’s never been easier to end support of an industry that wreaks havoc on endangered marine species like sharks. Join millions around the world, including Ruby Rose, in ending your support of the commercial fishing industry by leaving fish and all other animal products off your plate.