The practice is particularly crude and cruel, critics say. The "finners" pull the sharks onto the boat, hack off some or all of their four fins, then throw the shark, usually still alive, back into the water. Unable to swim, the sharks sink to the bottom of the sea and die.
"Not only is it horrible to look at," says Peter Knights, the executive director of Wildaid, a conservation group, "but it's sheer waste. Ninety-five percent of the shark is thrown overboard."