80% of Africa and Asia still uses traditional medicine as a first line cure for regional illness. While the earths population is hovering around 6,768,167,712 that's a massive demand for all raw use animal products, not just sharks:
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Alternative treatments are as varied as the regions of the world they come from. And while they attract skepticism from some Western medical practitioners, they are an undeniable part of global health.
In parts of Asia and Africa, 80 percent of the population depend on these treatments as their primary form of healthcare.
Shark fin has long been used in traditional Asian medicine. Shark fin soup is regarded as a tonic that promotes general well-being, and shark fin has even been claimed to have anti-cancer properties. Shark fins are mainly composed of cartilage, a type of connective tissue found in the skeletal systems of many animals.
In Japan, they are sold by herbalists as a powder, in tablet form or as whole fins. While shark fin has been used for centuries in Asia, in recent years it has become more popular in the West.
A book called "Sharks Don't Get Cancer," published in 1992, popularized the idea of shark fin as an alternative cancer treatment in the West, and powdered shark fin is now sold as dietary supplement.