Should Shark Fin Soup Be Outlawed?

Categories: Musings

sharkfin.jpg
Paul Hilton
Update: follow up article here.

The other night while having Chinese at Silver Pond with a friend, we debated about ordering the shark fin soup. "If you were in the ocean, the shark wouldn't think twice about eating you," my friend rationalized. He was hell bent on ordering a bowl. His response didn't move me. Is shark fin soup really still legal?

To harvest fins, ships trolling Central and South America, Taiwan, Indonesia, or Spain catch sharks, slice off fins and toss bodies back -- to the tune of 73 million a year. Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and California have recently banned shark fin trade. And finning is banned in federal waters. Fins are among the most expensive items from the sea, fetching more than $300 a pound. Despite controversy, the market for fins is on the rise as more Chinese attain wealth abroad.

Talk about a guilty pleasure. Served in a glossy, gelatinous broth, shark fin with fresh crab meat is deep and savory, presenting a contrast of texture: the silky liquid, flaky crab, and tiny noodles of cartilage. Shark fin soup has been a delicacy since the Ming Dynasty in the 1400's, an aphrodisiac that allegedly promotes health and slows aging. It embodies the notion of hospitality and keeping face. It's part of a ritual of celebration.

The soup we tried was $15 a cup, with shark fin feathered throughout the soup rather than served like the ears in the photo.Bowls such as the one above cost upwards of $100 a serving.   

"Eat faster," said our waiter. "Finish up." He wasn't trying to rush us so much as chide us for not respecting the ingredients by being quiet and attentive, savoring while it was hot. He was right, though I was distracting myself from the ethical dilemma of having ordered the share with my friend.

Should shark fin soup be banned nationwide? With 30% of sharks facing extinction, I'd hope so. But a ban would hardly protect populations, as the black market and lax international laws turn a blind eye to the practice.
New Times on Facebook | Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook | Twitter |

Location Info

Venue

Map

Silver Pond

4285 N. Sr-7, Lauderdale Lakes, FL

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
52 comments
CarolO
CarolO

I see no one here agrees with the author of this foolish article.

CarolO
CarolO

Shark fin soup is sold in the US simply because it's a Chinese custom to have it.  It was also a chinese custom to eat dogs and women to bound their feet but we don't allow that nonsense.  Hundreds of thousands of sharks are killed yearly simply so a high priced soup can be sold here and the money going into the pockets of the Chinese?  This is no different than us cutting the back leg off a steer so we can have a steak and allowing the animal to die in the field.

It should be a Federal Law not a state law so the entrie country can not sell it.

Eve
Eve

ban it it is so unnecessary.. the soup broth is what makes it good not the fin..it is just a lot of bs....ban it everywhere.

Wizzpig
Wizzpig

"... a ban would hardly protect populations, as the black market and lax international laws turn a blind eye to the practice."Ok... so we should just surrender to the fact there's nothing we can do, face reality and bid farewell to a species who have survived for over 400 million years!?? I'm sorry but that statement smacks of "can't be arsed" rather than "realist". We have to do something. The consequences of not should speak for themselves. All that is necessary for the triumph of extinction is for mankind to do nothing.

Ell
Ell

I'm thankful I don't have any friends ignorant enough to stick to 'traditions' and fear induced justification for destroying the ocean. Shark fin trade should be outlawed. The preservation of an absolutely VITAL aspect of not only our survival, but the continued survival of the planet as we know it is far more important than a nice, if expensive meal during a night out. That is putting aside the ethical implications with how many of the fins are obtained, which shouldn't even be a question as to whether or not finning should be outlawed.

Ted Inserra
Ted Inserra

get up and leave any restaurant that is serving this, DO NOT TELL ME HOW IT TASTE!! MANATEE STEAK'S ANYONE!!

Ursula Nass
Ursula Nass

YES. Firstly, tradition can not be an excuse for the extinction of a whole species. Secondly, ANY unsustainable violation of our nature MUST be banned or there'sll be no place left for us to go. We can't eat money. Thirdly, how can people believe that something this polluted can give them ANY health benefits rather than make them sick? And finally, compared to us humans, sharks are the most innocent and peaceful creatures you could think of.

Barbt26
Barbt26

Yes, it should be outlawed. The last time we went to Silver Pond we told the owner he shouldn't serve it. Others should do the same. And shame on you for ordering it!

hidesert47
hidesert47

Imagine that you're walking down the sidewalk, minding your business.  A large, open truck rolls by slowly.  Someone in the back snags you with a large metal hook hauls you aboard. They proceed using a razor-sharp knife to cut off your arms and legs while you are still conscious, and then they dump your agonized torso back on the street, where animals an vermin chew on you while you bleed out and die. What ... not a pretty scene?  This is how sharks are dealt with on the world's oceans, to the tune of 70-some million a year.

Couple that with the fact that all of the ecosystems of the world are interdependent, and I'm not talking only about non-human groups. We too are all dependent on the health of other ecosystems, and none is as powerful in its influence as the oceans. Without sharks, the lords of the ocean, doing their job to keep that system in balance, we have no chance of doing so on land.  We are totally dependent upon the health of the oceans.

There is no evidence to support any of the mythology that shark fins, or shark parts in general, provide humans with any positive benefit.  The shark cartilage craze, supposed to prevent cancer, is also a myth.  Because sharks are an apex predator, heavy metals drained into our oceans roll up the food chain into their flesh, making them laden with mercury.

This is a critical issue.  Some shark species have been decimated by 99 per cent.  Others are not far behind.  The "Jaws effect" continues to panic people at the mere mention of the word "shark", while only one to three per cent of shark species ever interact negatively with humans, and then often by accident (shark mistakes human for seal or other real shark food) or provocation.

As a diver, I've had the rare privilege of swimming in the midst of several hundred large sharks, many almost within reach, as they circled us purely out of curiosity. Sharks are not "man-eaters" who inhabit "shark-infested waters".  They are literally a cornerstone of Earth's natural environment.  Continuing to destroy them without cause is tragic, and must be stopped.

Bruce WilliamsDurango, CO USA

C Cassidy005
C Cassidy005

"If you were in the ocean, the shark wouldn't think twice about eating you," my friend rationalized" - what a pile of crap, an excuse that doesn't have a leg to stand on and betrays his ignorance.Yes, it should be outlawed - its decimating the populations of several species of sharks in the worst possible way. Shame on you for trying, you still did - and implying that the waiter 'respected' the ingredients...?!? Don't insult our intelligence to salve your conscience.

Daniel Stolte
Daniel Stolte

Also, have you asked yourself why they put crab meat in with the shark fin? If a waiter asked you if you wanted crab meat with your salmon or with your Mahi-Mahi, you would call them crazy, no? It's because shark fin has no taste on its own, its only function is to provide texture, and, more importantly, the sense of status. This fact makes the practice of shark finning for this purpose even more appalling. As a scuba diver, I can attest to the fact that your friend is grossly mistaken in his assumption that a shark "would not think twice about eating you." Your friend is in need of some serious education. First off, even IF sharks attacked humans on a regular basis, which they don't, it is US who are invading their territory, not the other way around. But that is purely hypothetical. More important is the fact that an estimated 26 million to 73 million sharks are killed annually for commercial markets. THAT is the reason for opposing shark finning. Contrast this with the handful of people are killed by sharks each year. Finally, sharks perform essential roles as apex predators that the entire marine ecosystem depends on, unlike us humans. The natural world would be much better off without humans around. We simply have no right to destroy entire ecosystems on a global scale for the misguided pleasure of certain ethnic groups on this planet. If the Chinese want to extirpate the sharks from their waters, that's regrettable, but so be it. But don't you dare trashing the world's oceans to satisfy some twisted sense of status in a culture the rest of the world is not part of. 

Daniel Stolte
Daniel Stolte

I would not even consider eating at a restaurant that offers shark fin soups. I would make an audible announcement and ask to speak with the manager and explain to them why I can't give them my business and how I would spread the word of mouth. I would also not be friends with someone whose views on the issue are as immature as those you mention in this article. 

Dawnelle Froehler
Dawnelle Froehler

There is NO doubt that it should be banned. As illustrated by some of the educated commentors above, sharks are a pivotal part of the oceanic ecosystem. The extinction of sharks WILL adversely effect ALL life in the ocean, and to shamelessly kill them (in obscene ways such as de-finning them and tossing them back into the ocean to drown) for the sake of prestige and tradition is a travesty. Sharks pose less of a threat to humans than we do to ourselves and the suggestion that a shark would not hesitate to eat a human is a grossly ignorant statement. Sharks do not enjoy eating humans and the cases where a human has been consumed by sharks is rare indeed. Eco-diving companies all over the world have proven that humans and sharks can interact in mutually respectful and safe ways so to suggest that shark finning is justified as sharks are human-hunters is absurd. It is disgusting that anyone can support or even excuse this activity when recent studies show that all shark populations worldwide have been so drastically decimated due to its practice.  Shame on us indeed.

Sea Save Inc.
Sea Save Inc.

Sharks that are sold to Pet Stores, zoos, aquariums, research facilities and shipped around the world should also be included and deserve protection too. When companies like this can still take them with no responsibility of their care. More money, More money.

http://www.dynastymarine.net/w...

Jay Walker
Jay Walker

It's an over-priced so called status symbol for those who are foolish and insecure enough to buy into this nonsense of exotic foodstuffs and alternative medicine.I'll never know what it tastes like and I dont want too.Am I going to miss out on a great life experience?No, give me a cup of golden vegetable any day.Cheaper, probably tastier and contains no endangered species, unless carrots peas and spuds have been added to the list.Say a big NO to sharkfin soup.

Divingintaiwan
Divingintaiwan

Hi everyone this is a complex issue and one that most people who consume shark fin soup fail to understand. As a PADI dive instructor I would like to quote you some facts about sharks from the Shark Conservation manual.  This is a long quote so bear with me and I hope that this will explain why sharks are vital to our oceans and why we must stop slaughtering them.Research into certain shark species or regions has uncovered many alarming estimates: •One third of pelagic (open ocean) sharks and rays are threatened with extinction•Hammerhead sharks have declined by 89% in the North West and Western Central   Atlantic since 1986•Great hammerheads have declined by 80% in the eastern Atlantic•Porbeagle and spiny dogfish sharks have been reduced by 90% in the Northwest Atlantic•One third of European sharks are Threatened with extinction, one of the highest levels of all assessed regions in the world•14 species of Mediterranean sharks and rays are Critically Endangered4. These statistics show that sharks are in serious trouble. If we do not act quickly and decisively we risk virtually emptying the ocean of sharks. This will have devastating consequences for marine ecosystems and human society.D. What life history traits make sharks vulnerable?1. Most shark species are characterised by one or more life history traits that make them vulnerable to overfishing, including:•It takes them a long time to reach sexual maturity•They have long gestation periods (one to two years)•They have a small number of offspring (pups)•They breed only every second or third year.Compared to other vertebrates (animals with a backbone including mammals), sharks.generally have a slow reproductive cycle. The reproductive strategy of most shark   species more closely resembles those of whales, elephants and birds than other fish. 3. Under natural conditions this slow reproductive strategy works well for sharks as they have few predators and so have no need to rapidly replenish their numbers. 4. These traits work against sharks when they need to recover from overfishing or other substantial losses. A slow reproductive strategy means they are unable to respond quickly to the removal of many individuals from a population. 5. For example, the dusky shark can take more than 20 years to reach sexual maturity. Most shark species give birth to between 2 and 20 pups after a pregnancy of 8-12   months, though spiny dogfish are thought to gestate for nearly two years. Females of many shark species rest between breeding cycles for at least one year.6. The shark’s reproductive strategy is very different to most bony ocean fish that  release millions of eggs in a lifetime. As we shall see later in the course, this key   difference contributes greatly to the many problems associated with shark fisheries management. 7. Another trait that makes some shark species vulnerable to heavy fishing is their   tendency to form groups based on their age, sex and/or maturity. Large, older females of many shark species produce greater numbers of stronger pups than younger   females, so the sudden removal of these older females through fishing can have serious consequences for the population.   What is the importance of sharks to marine ecosystems?1. Sharks play a crucial role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems by keeping a balance among prey species and by removing sick, injured and diseased animals. 2. Sharks are often the apex predator in their ecosystem, meaning they are at the top of many food chains. As adults they have no or few natural predators. 3. Typical traits of apex predators is that they feed on many different species and change food sources when one prey animal becomes hard to find. In this way sharks help   maintain a balance that ensures no one species over-populates and depletes the   species on which it feeds. 4. Food chains describe how energy moves among species. A typical food chain starts with plants that use the sun’s energy to make their body parts. Plants are consumed by herbivores (plant eaters), who are consumed by carnivores (meat eaters). Smallcarnivores are consumed by large carnivores until the apex predators - the last animal in the food chain - are reached. 5. Most animals are links in multiple food chains within an ecosystem. Together these food chains form a complex food web that intimately links predators to prey. 6. Removing an animal from a food web can have repercussions throughout an   ecosystem. To reveal the potential impacts of removing sharks from a marine   ecosystem we can follow the impact through a simple food chain: Fewer apex predatorsmore lowerlevel carnivoresfewer herbivoresmore macroalgae(e.g. seaweed, base of food chain)7. To see how removing apex predators affects marine ecosystems we need to study marine areas that have had little exposure to human impacts, especially fishing.   Studies of remote reefs have revealed ecosystems that are very different from those we know today. 8. A study of reefs in the Northwestern Hawaii Islands found that apex predators,   including sharks, comprise over half of the fish biomass compared to less than 10% on reefs that are fished. On the unaltered reefs the sharks are bigger and populations of all species are far greater. Additionally the unaltered reefs are home to a larger variety of other species than regularly fished reefs. 9. The presence of sharks can also protect seagrass beds from over-grazing by dugongs and green sea turtles. These animals prefer to eat in the middle of a sea grass bed where the quality of food is the highest. But it is harder for them to escape a hunting shark from the middle of a large seagrass bed, so they stay on the outside when sharks are present. Seagrass beds are an important habitat for many fish and invertebrate species.

Hope this helps you to understand this very important topic.  Please support the complete banning of shark finning and the sale of shark fin soup. Thank you.

Piercingeyes66@aol.com
Piercingeyes66@aol.com

You sir are an idiot! Being aware of shark extinction issues and still ordering it???? You and people such as you are the reason it is served! If you are not part of the solution- YOU are indeed the problem! Congratulations- you are an idiot!

Bb67
Bb67

If the shark fin trade has not been banned where you are, TAKE ACTION by contacting your local restaurants that still serve shark fin soup and educating them about the need to protect sharks, globally. You can find helpful outreach tools and educational materials at SHARK SAVERS' "Say NO to Shark Fin Soup" Campaign page: http://www.sharksavers.org/en/...

Clairerafferty1
Clairerafferty1

Yes and for the obvious reasons that everybody should with half a brain no!!!! 

Lindsey Done
Lindsey Done

Nah I say lets keep killing the sharks just for their fins! Why not? It isn't as if they are that important anyway right??? Lets keep killing ourselves in the process....after all, we can live on a planet without sharks right? NOOOOOO on both counts, and I could have gone on.

WE NEED SHARKS!!!!! Lets remember that humans are not Gods. We cannot keep taking and taking from this planet. Sooner or later there will be no planet left.

We need to Ban All Shark Fin products, and indeed ALL SHARK products....

Lana salant
Lana salant

The killing of sharks is another savage, unnecessary, superstitious slaying to extinction of a necessary top predator in our failing oceans for ONE group's greed.  STOP NOW!!

Jill Hirschi
Jill Hirschi

You realize sharks contain a high levels of Mercury, Lead, and Arsenic and by serving it you are killing your customers AND the oceans. How they get shark fin by cutting off the fins usually on a live shark and throwing it back in the ocean to suffocate and die and that may takes days or weeks. Also because of the demand for it 100 million sharks die a year but only 6.5 million are born. That means within our lifetime shark will be gone if it doesn't stop. Also since sharks are the Apex Predators of the Ocean you are throwing of the most important ecosystem the ocean, and if we lose it we could lose up to 70% of the Earth Oxygen, Water, Climate Change, and Food.  And all that to be tasteless in soup?!?!?!

Kerstin Huf
Kerstin Huf

Absolutly. Sharks need protction. The oceans will die without them. Guess who´s next....

Anita-Dian
Anita-Dian

I can't understand why this needs to still be asked, in a so-called civilised world. It isn't right on any level. Makes me sick and angry, and if I knew anyone that would even considereating this barbaric dish, they would quickly know my thoughts, and be left off my 'friends' list from that moment on.

Marcel
Marcel

Sharks need our protection, they keep the balance in the oceans for hundreds of millions of years what happens if we drive them to extinction?

Lynzi Leroy
Lynzi Leroy

Absolutely, 100% yes, it should be banned

Paul Sharkbait Oohaha Gilhoole
Paul Sharkbait Oohaha Gilhoole

Despite changing attitudes towards the shark globally, shark fin soup is still seen as a highly sought after delicacy throughout the asian world.  As sharks are apex predators, and store vast amounts of Methyl Mercury in their tissue, highly dangerous neurotoxins are passing into the blood streams of the consumers at almost 100% in strength.Personally, I would rather go without the soup than risk brain damage and other vital organ disorders, or I would change the name of the dish to Neurotoxin soup, as this is more appropriate.I would also claim that establishments selling this should have a care of duty to their clients to warn them of the potential health risks of eating the dish.

Paul Sharkbait Oohaha Gilhoole
Paul Sharkbait Oohaha Gilhoole

Despite a changing global attitude towards the shark, people are still seeing shark fin soup as a respectable dish.Maybe if they realised that they were poisoning themselves with highly dangerous doses of Methyl Mercury they would think twice.  Anybody care for a bowl of neurotoxin soup?

Iainleggett
Iainleggett

Clearly the idiot who said this should not have enough money to eat out  "If you were in the ocean, the shark wouldn't think twice about eating you," my friend rationalized. He was hell bent on ordering a bowl. These people and sadly there are too many of them need to be educated one way or another

Jeffrey Buice
Jeffrey Buice

Humans are the only ones reading and debating this. Why? Because this planets creatures that balance the cycle here cannot, and us humans have created a dire circumstance that is now a critical point. Shark Finning is ancient and not neccessary. No excuses. Yes its a shameful practice that only needs an ounce of compassion to understand. If you care for this planet and its inhabitants, you are responsible to not upset the symbiotic cycle Earth depends on... take out Sharks alone, you now have an un-reversable, serious problem. Its that simple.

Aoibheann, Dublin
Aoibheann, Dublin

Shark-fin soup should only be on the menu if human-limb soup is as well.  

Kev Rowlands
Kev Rowlands

I don't understand why this is being asked as a question. Perhaps the question should be 'Do we have compassion for animals ? The answer to this is always yes, but unfortunately some people have lost touch with their compassion, which has been suppressed by greed.

Des Kerrigan
Des Kerrigan

Sharks will only survive through protection and are extremely important in the ocean eco systems particularly reef sharks on coral reefs. Sharks take out the sick and keep fish stocks strong, also stop larger predatory fish becoming dominant to eat all the smaller fish, which in turn feed on the algae that form on the reefs especially coral reefs which die due to algae build up over the corals. A reef with no sharks is actually an unhealthy reef devoid of fish, sharks keep the bio-diversity in our oceans and have been doing that for millions of years. Sharks are not dangerous to humans although there are encounters that cause injury, only 6 humans die on average worldwide per year from shark related injuries. They are not a problem but are facing extinction because of a bowl of soup!

Susana Navajas
Susana Navajas

Why of course it should! Sharks are top predators and their numbers are going down at a rate quicker than can be stopped. We need to implement strict rules to protect them, and to stop the finning trade; because if we don't, sharks will be gone from the oceans.

Staci-lee
Staci-lee

Yes absolutely! More then 70,000,000 sharks are killed every year just for their fins. Killing a shark - most of which are endangered - in such a vile way for something so useless as soup is insane. Stop killing our sharks we need this apex predator to maintain a healthy ocean for all species...including our own.

Shannon Taipei
Shannon Taipei

Shark fin soup has pretty much single-handedly decimated worldwide shark populations by a staggering 95%.  The disappearing shark population could spell doom for our oceans, and in turn threaten human survival.  Shark fin soup has next-to-none nutritional value, and is rich in methylmercury (a neuro-toxin), lead, cadmium, and persistent organic pollutants that could lead to a myriad of health issues.  This wretched soup should be outlawed worldwide to allow shark populations to recover, so as to ensure the survival of our oceans.

Veerle Roelandt
Veerle Roelandt

Yes, it should be outlawed ! Sharks are top predators, keeping our oceans healthy. Take them all out - at the rate they are being killed at this moment that will happen for sure - and our oceans are in deep trouble and thus are we. There are other much more sustainable alternatives. Extinction is forever we can't let that happen !

Kate Goodson
Kate Goodson

Animals in the ocean and on land that are at risk of over harvesting should be better protected this includes sharks. Stricter laws on harvesting, port side inspections of cargo and patrols for illegal catches could protect sharks better, and if ignorant, selfish people insist on ordering something that is endangering our oceans then yes, out law shark fin soup.

ted anthony inserra
ted anthony inserra

To answer the question, ofcourse it should be outlawed, if not for being an endangered species, but by the way they are killed and then treated like garbage.  I would not put up with someone i was out with even ordering it, how was the Sea Turtle Soup, Braised Sperm Whale Belly, and Manatee Steaks? Mother Mother Ocean!!! always think==W.W.J.B.D.!!!! What Would Jimmy Buffett Do!!!!

David McGuire
David McGuire

Recent laws have been passed in Florida to protect several large migratory species that are threatened.  It is time Florida joined the Pacific movement to protect sharks form finning by stopping the trade.  Finned sharks are entering our country via dried fin for shark fin soup.Great job educating your friend and others in the Asian community that this is a fad that is unsustainable for consumers and for ocean health.  Hep Sea Stewards with a Florida and Texas shark fin ban.

Melissamccart
Melissamccart

I didn't say we should surrender or do nothing. Whether I try a friend's soup isn't going to stop fin trade, either. I'll be posting a follow up in the next couple of days regarding suppliers. 

CarolO
CarolO

Shark fin soup is nothing but a tradition chinese have on their menu.  It is so tasteless that it has to have thick chicken broth added to it to make it eatable.  So why not leave the shark alone and have the egg drop?

Gayfag
Gayfag

@Aoibheann, Dublin As a matter of fact, many sharks ARE enjoying human limb soup. We don't see any sharks complaining about how cruel it is to remove limbs from human while they are still alive, do we? Humans are such peculiar creatures.

Michelle Ferris
Michelle Ferris

1) If you're going to kill an animal, use the whole Killing it for it's fins is ridiculous.2) Finning is absolutely unsustainable and needs to be outlawed.3) Soup is not useless. How dare you even insinuate that. That hurts, man. I could eat it every day. But never, never, never with shark fins in it.

Michelle FLow Amine Recipeshttp://aminerecipes.com

Sea Save Inc.
Sea Save Inc.

They still are not protecting those that end up in pet stores, Some can just get a "Special Activities Permit" to collect them and ship them to Pet Stores, Zoos, Aquariums and other suppliers around the world.

http://www.dynastymarine.net/w...

I do like that they are protecting some of them.

Sea Save Inc.
Sea Save Inc.

They don't protect sharks that are sold to Pet Stores or for the Aquarium Trade, and some even get "Special Activities Permits to collect them and ship them around the world. I do like the fact they are trying to protect some of them.

http://www.dynastymarine.net/w...

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...