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Lopped Off

Removal of top predators trickles through the food web

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11:04am, October 21, 2011

In July, the Ecuadorean navy helped apprehend a fishing vessel within the waters of the Galápagos National Park. On board lay the carcasses of 379 sharks — including threshers, hammer­heads, Galápagos, blues and a mako. Nearly severed fins hung from the mutilated, slippery bodies. The fins were presumably destined for trade in Asian markets, where shark-fin soup can sell for more than $100 a bowl.

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