Friday, March 16, 2012

Shark fin soup

Sharks are some of the most magnificent creatures that have ever roamed this earth. They have flourished since before the dinosaurs. However, modern man has caused those numbers to drastically decline. One of the main reasons for the massive decline of shark population is shark fin soup. It is estimated that every years tens of millions of sharks die of a slow death due to this practice. The sharks are unable to catch prey without being able to swim. They drown if they stop swimming because they do not have a swim bladder. Or they are simply eaten by other predators because they are inferior now. Some shark populations have decreased by as much as 95%! Fortunately, there are various organizations dedicated to stopping this barbaric practice.

            Shark fin soup is an Asian delicacy that is usually served at special banquets such as weddings. With the modernization and growing economy in China, the demand for shark fin soup has greatly risen. Due to this, shark levels have unfortunately dropped as well. However, the fins themselves in the soup are virtually tasteless, it simply adds texture. The actual taste of the soup comes from the other ingredients. The Chinese also value shark fins for their alleged benefits such as to boost sexual potency, enhance skin quality, increase one's qi or energy, prevent heart disease, and lower cholesterol says Joyce Woo in her article in the Washington Post. However, shark fin soup actually has a significantly less amount of vitamins and minerals than normal shark fin soup. The demand for these shark fins is said to have doubled in the last decade.
            Shark fin soup is an extremely important battle for wildlife conservationists. In most cases when the shark is caught the dorsal fin is cut off and then the shark is tossed back into the water and left for dead. It is not like the fishermen just use extra fins from sharks that are already caught and being sold to supermarkets for the actual meat. Fortunately, a few states in America have banned the sale of shark fins, with California just passing a law outlawing the sale. Even some major supermarkets in China have outlawed the sale of shark fins. On the other hand, some opponents of the shark fin sale band say it is discriminatory to the Chinese culture since they have been consuming shark fin soup since the Middle Ages. In my presentation I will discuss the impact that shark fin soup has had on shark populations and explain the controversy of both sides.


  1. This sounds like a really cool presentation topic. I look forward to it!

  2. I did a research project about shark endangerment in High School and learned all about their finning. Your last paragraph, I especially remember learning about. The reasoning behind tossing the sharks back in the water is to conserve space on the ship for more fins... it's sad. Great post! I loved reading it!

  3. This seems very interesting, but that is crazy how they just throw the sharks back into the water to save on space. By no means is that okay. I look forward to learning more about this topic.