In 2013, wildlife charities launched educational campaigns that aimed to lower the consumption of shark fin. Fisherman would cut the fins off of sharks in order to be used in soups that were served in high-end restaurants in Hong Kong and China. The results of the campaigns have been very successful, as many restaurants no longer serve shark fin soup.
Due to the lower demand for shark fin, fisherman who made their living in the Asia Pacific region have seen their income drop. According to media reports, fisherman who caught shark fins previously made several hundred dollars per month. In late 2013, as the demand for shark fin declines, the fisherman are now only earning between $37 to $46 per month (40 to 50 Australian Dollars).
In order to find new incomes, many of the fisherman are turning to human smuggling. Reports indicate that fisherman in Indonesia are using their boats to transports asylum seekers to Australia. A captain of a human smuggling boat can earn up to $2,327 (2,500 AUD). The crew members of the smuggling boat can earn between $930 to $1,396 (1,000 to 1,500 AUD).
Source: Kate Evans, “Drop in shark fin prices lures people smugglers,” ABC Radio Australia, November 14, 2013.