- Food and Cooking
Shark Fin Soup
Shark Fin Soup
Shark Fin Soup, though essentially a Chinese treat is a very popular dish throughout Asia. There are numerous restaurants which specialise in it in China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and other countries.
Though it can be purchased in many different places (even tinned in Supermarkets) it is looked upon as a luxury dish and will be served at weddings, banquets and feasts. Once it was well outside of the reach of the average Chinese due to cost. Now though the current burgeoning economy has meant it is now within the price range of all but the poorest and consequently demand has increased.
The Shark Fishing industry is a very wasteful one and in spite of attempts at regulating the industry it shows no sign of shrinking. Whilst the demand still exists there will always be someone there to supply it. Sadly, to many, Sharks Fin is not just a soup, and one of the worlds most expensive dishes, but an aphrodisiac as well. There is absolutely NO evidence to support this.
Sharks Fin Soup in Coconut
Shark Fishing is Cruel
Today, Shark Fishing is out of control. The prices of the fins has never been higher (more than $700 per kilo). Around 800,000 metric tonnes of fins are collected each year. Indonesia alone harvested 98,250 tonnes in 2006. Remember this is just Fin weight...not whole sharks. The demand is rising.
Sharks have been shown to feel pain but no consideration is given to this fact as they are hooked aboard the fishing boat to have their fins hacked off. The still living body is just kicked to one side. The large illegal and unregulated fishing boats simply kick the body over the side. Here it will drown, die of starvation or be eaten by other fishes. It is a painful lingering death. The fins will never re-grow.
Over 90% of the Worlds big fish have already been pulled from the Oceans and yet the pursuit continues.
Greed shows no recognition for the balance of nature. Sharks play or played an important role in the scheme of things. Their disappearance will be catastrophic for fish stocks in the wild.
The Worlds Aquaria have a duty to educate people of the plight of the shark. This is absolutely essential if they actually keep sharks.
Shark fin soup is not particularly nutritious and takes up much of its flavour from the other ingredients. There are plenty of tasty alternatives. It is definitely a question of education. The aquariums are at the front on this issue. They must play a part.
Some do of course whereas other do not even give a token nod towards the subject of conservation.
I have travelled widely in Asia these past few years. I have seen huge numbers of Sharks Fins for sale and numerous Sharks Fin Soup Restaurants...but I have only seen the very tip of the iceberg. Based on what I have seen however I would be prepared to guess that many shark species will be extinct within the next five years.
Hawaii is the first USA state to implement a ban on Shark Fin Soup. This ban will come into force on 1st July 2011. No such ban is yet planned for other US states so you should get your bowl in Chicago or New York.
The USA does have laws governing the importation of sharks fins. There is a loophole of course and providing the fin is still attached to the shark it is okay to land them. The general rule of supply and demand comes into play. If you want your soup and you can pay you can have it today.
If the rest of the US states were to ban Shark Fin Soup.....it would make a difference!