Converting bowls of sharks fin soup into live shark equivalents.
Although WWF and other NGOs have been campaigning for over a decade to reduce the unsustainable consumption of shark fin soup in Asia, nobody was able to estimate how many sharks and rays could actually be saved when consumers chose to go fin-free. Development of any methodology to estimate that was hindered by the lack of relevant market data as well as large diversity of shark species, animal sizes, and types of fins that ended up in soup.
WWF Sharkulator is a new science-based methodology to estimate how many individual sharks can be saved based on the number of bowls of shark fin soup not consumed. By visualising the impact of their decision to go fin-free on these increasingly threatened marine creatures, we hope that WWF Sharkulator will encourage more people to say no to shark fin soup and as a result, support our long-term work to reduce the unsustainable demand for shark fin in Asian markets.
Our Sharkulator methodology behind the tool is based on six calculation steps, starting from the number of bowls of shark fin soup, through key product and weight conversions, to a live shark equivalent. The methodology focuses on producing an estimate for blue shark (Prionace glauca) as it is by far the most abundant species in the global shark fin trade.
The intention of WWF Sharkulator is to provide science-based conversion estimates, primarily for public communications around shark fin demand reduction, and potentially for monitoring of impact, rather than for management or regulatory purposes where a higher degree of accuracy may be required. As better data becomes available, incorporating those into the conversion process may allow for increased accuracy and representativeness of the conversion estimates, and thus an expanded range of application.