Originating from as far back as the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese delicacy known as shark fin soup has been a staple dish of the elite for centuries. Seen as a public display of social status, the dish has undergone heavy scrutiny in recent decades due to the inhumane ways that the shark fins are harvested, as well as the dish’s contribution to the decline of shark population worldwide.
Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China make up for 95% of the world’s annual shark harvest, so when the State Council of China announced that it would begin to implement a ban on shark fin soup at official government gatherings earlier this week, the news surprised many. Environmentalists worldwide have praised the decision of Chinese state officials, even if the ban may take up to three years to be fully enacted.
An estimated 26 to 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins. More often alive than not after being finned, the sharks unable to move normally usually die due to suffocation or are eaten by other predators. In addition, 1/3 of all shark species are facing extinction.
What’s your take on this issue?
Personally, I believe that it’s about damn time. For those that don’t know, shark fin has no taste whatsoever. The broth makes the soup, and the fins are added merely for texture. The fins could easily be substituted with something such as glass noodles, but too many Chinese people place an emphasis on the stupid sociological concept of face and status.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, please watch the documentary below by Gordon Ramsay.