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Top 10 Shark Conservation Projects

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by: Josh Clark
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Exposing Shark Fishing Nations
DCI | Jeff Rotman/Getty Images

Researchers attribute the sharp increase in demand for shark fin soup largely to the rise of the middle class in China over the past decade or so. With more people making more money from China's economic boom, more Chinese can afford a dish that costs up to $100 a bowl. While shark fin soup is a delicacy in China and a handful of other areas, many countries have fishing fleets that feed that demand.

Some conservation efforts, like that of Oceana, have focused on quantifying the shark fin trade. A 2010 report published by the group determined estimates for each of the 87 countries that export shark fins to Hong Kong, the world's largest consumer of shark fin soup. Shockingly, some of the largest exporters also have implemented some of the world's best protective measures for sharks.

Spain tops the list by exporting a whopping 2.6 million kilograms (5.7 million pounds) of shark fins in 2008. The United States ranks seventh, exporting an estimated 251,000 kilograms (553,000 pounds) of shark fins each year.

By showing that the same countries that work to conserve sharks also profit from their deaths, conservationists can force the hands of lawmakers in these countries.

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