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Shark finning is a practice in which sharks are caught, their fins are cut off, then the living shark is tossed back into the ocean where it is usually eaten alive or drowns. The growing demand for shark fin soup, a symbol of affluence in Asia, and thought (mistakenly) to having healing capabilities has caused shark finning to increase to epic proportions globally.

Sharks are by far the most dominant predator in the ocean, and have existed there for several hundred million years.  Now, they are at risk of a total global extinction, with an estimated 100 million sharks killed annually for their fins.  If they disappear, the ecology of the oceans will be enormously disrupted and could collapse entirely.  This would be a catastrophe of immense magnitude for humanity.

Much of the illegal finning is conducted in the waters off Costa Rica in Central America.  In the 1990’s, a conservation organization named Pretoma formed, and has been fighting finning by raising public awareness and advocating fishing policy reform.  Pretoma is an award-winning organization and recent recipient of the Goldman Environmental Award.

Teacher, conservationist, and cyclist Mark DiMaggio, and UC Davis Sophomore Devon Lambert will be taking action against the slaughter of sharks this summer by riding their road bikes from  Louisville, Kentucky to Washington D.C., a trek of about 1,200 miles.  Mark and Devon are teamed up with photographer, teacher, and naturalist Gaylene Ewing,  who will work  to manage the campaign from home. The money raised by this bike ride will be donated to Pretoma and their sister organization ARCAE, supporting their efforts to protect and preserve sharks in the waters of Central America. One Hundred % of the money raised this summer will go to shark conservation.  You can pledge however much you can afford for each mile we ride, or just make a flat contribution to this effort.  Please see our “Donate” page for more info.

Sharkwater, a documentary by Rob Stewart, played a key role in inspiring the Spinning to End Finning campaign.