There is a whole bunch of restaurants offering shark fin soup and similar delicatessen near Bangkok’s Siam square – the Thai capital is known for offering what is often called the “dish of emperors” on the cheap. But, of course, one can find a lot of these places in China and Eastern Asia. Shark fin soup is seen as a prestigious dish, preferably served at weddings and banquets. However, shark fins are also used as cures in traditional medicine. China remains THE market for shark fin products, while Japan’s fishing companies are the key catchers of sharks. Hence, particular strong resistance against efforts to outlaw shark finning – the practice of removing and retaining the sharks’ fins – comes from these two countries. Well, of course, we are talking about big business.
Commonly, one kilogram of shark fin retails about 400 US Dollars.
While global awareness campaigns have started to bear some fruit, particularly among the younger generations, much remains to be done to put a hold to this cruel practice. Needless to say, as long as there is a demand for it, the bloody business will continue.
After the fishermen remove the fins from the shark, the animal – usually still alive – is dumped into the ocean and left to a cruel death. Given that the crippled animals cannot move normally without their fins they are either eaten by predators or they bleed to death.
An inhumane business…
If you are interested in learning more about the issue, check out the award-winning documentary Sharkwater by filmmaker Rob Stewart, who teamed up with conservationist Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Quite an eye-opener.
If you want to support the invaluable work of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society please go to: http://www.seashepherd.org/sharks/shark-finning.html