Imagine meeting a 40 foot shark, and how terrified you'd be. Then imagine that shark being the cutest, gentlest beast under the sea.
The Whale Shark is a 40+ foot shark that feeds mostly on plankton. It's the largest non-mammalian vertebrate in the world.
Imagine watching that shark get routinely dragged onto a boat by forklift, have all of its fins cut off, organs drained, and then dropped back into the ocean.
Fisheries off China are doing just this, though the Whale Shark is an internationally protected species. They’re doing so, mostly, to extract fish oil from the livers of the sharks, as well as sell their fins as delicacies.
A lot of that fish oil goes straight into North American cosmetics and dietary supplements.
Fish oil is rich in Omega-3, which is good for cardiovascular health, joint pain, and the brain. 1 in 5 Americans now take fish oil. Twenty percent of the U.S. Fish oil market is supplied by China, though most end products have no labelling indicating they were made in China, which is also illegal.
In 2012, Canada bought $12 million worth of fish oil from China.
The oil is imported from China and bottled in North America, which U.S. Customs uses as a loophole to get around the Tariff act of 1930, which is meant to ensure proper labelling of imported products. If it is bottled in the United States, that makes it an American product.
The FDA has never inspected any Chinese supplement plans, though fish oil is very particular to manufacture safely. If not, it can become rancid and develop poisonous levels of mercury. It is accepted that Chinese fish oil is of a much lower quality than similar products from around the globe. Imagine getting Mercury poisoning.
If your products contain fish oil, look for a 'Made in the USA' or 'Made in Norway' label. Or better yet, demand proper labelling from your cosmetics suppliers. It may be the key to changing things.
Imagine if something you thought was healthy for you was actually eliminating an entire species: it’s almost the opposite of imagining a 40 ft shark that can’t hurt you, and would never even try.