Right now, there is a person sitting down and eating a steaming bowl of shark fin soup, just because they can. They realize that the shark fin has no flavor to it, but the fish adds texture to the soup, and they pretend that’s good. It must be. It’s seasoned with 100 dollar bills and the extinction of one of the ocean’s greatest creatures.
Shark fin soup is a prestigious dish in the culinary world. But how much does it have to cost us to cost too much? Maybe the answers lie at the bottom of the ocean. With the dying bodies of sharks who can’t swim because their fins were cut off for some soup. That’s just what shark finning is; the practice of catching sharks, dragging them up out of the water with a hook in their mouth, cutting off their fins, and throwing them back in the water. Shark finning results in the gruesome death of about 73 million sharks a year according to Mark Carwardine at DiscoverWildlife magazine. That is 73 million sharks left without fins to swim, defenseless, and bleeding out. All for some soup. Shark fin soup is a “traditional Chinese dish dating back more than 1,000 years” made with broth and the shark fin meat popular for its texture. The soup used to be a delicacy bought to flaunt one’s high social status; not that it’s much different today, but shark fins have risen in demand to support the popularity of the soup around the world. Shark fin soup ultimately has “no taste or nutritional value” and is just the product of another animal targeted with a pretty price in a crowning species that just can’t spend enough.
Despite the on-going process of bans of shark fins being made from China to the U.S., it still doesn’t stop people from smuggling in the fins. Bite-Back Shark and Marine Conservation campaign director, Graham Buckingham, said, ‘“It is perfectly legal for any adult travelling to Europe to bring 20kg of shark fins as part of their personal import allowance,”’ (Dehghan). The US established a similar ban to that in Europe, requiring that all sharks are brought to shore with their fins intact in the “US Shark Conservation Act 2010”. However, these bans are not worldwide and do not prevent the killing of sharks. Profiters of the shark finning business have been looking for new ways to exploit the trade with other possible uses of shark’s body. So, no matter how many bans there are for shark finning, there won’t be an end in sight if we don’t aim for a world ban. If the people of the world can’t come together to put an end to Shark Fin soup, then how can save our own world?
Illustration by Toni Chadwell