START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
583,911 people care about Real Food

Some Chinese Losing Their Taste For Shark Fin Soup

Some Chinese Losing Their Taste For Shark Fin Soup

Shark fin products have been banned in California, in Toronto and elsewhere but shark fin soup remains a popular delicacy that more people in China and Hong Kong can now afford. Soup made using shark fin is a delicacy in Chinese culture dating back to the 10th century Song Dynasty. With the recent rise of economic prosperity in China, demand has grown significantly, with devastating results for the world’s shark population. The population of many species of shark has fallen by 90 percent in recent decades.

Hong Kong is the center of the trade, with 80 percent of shark fin products passing through it from 100 different countries; Spain is the biggest supplier. Some 40 percent of the shark fin auctioned in Hong Kong is from 14 species that are all on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “red list” of endangered species. After being pretty much hacked off a shark in the ocean, the fins are dried and bleached and often treated with ammonia. It is almost impossible to know what part of the world a shark fin originated from. Stanley Shea, a member of the marine environment group Bloom Association, says that “The catches are not tracked at all, and there is no species monitoring or labeling.”

Shark fin soup is traditionally served at weddings and businesses are starting to offer discounts to those who forego the soup:

Several hotels offer discounts, cheaper room rates and other incentives for couples that choose not to serve shark fin at their wedding celebrations.

One online campaign calls on wedding guests to reduce cash gifts by about a third for couples who select the dish.

Last year campaigners persuaded Citibank Hong Kong to withdraw a promotion offering new credit card holders discount on a shark fin dinner.

On the mainland Yao Ming, the Chinese NBA star, has appeared in a well-received campaign to end finning, the practice of removing a shark’s highly valued fins and dumping what is left into the sea.

One shark find wholesaler says that prices have fallen by 20 percent over the past two months but is not sure it’s a lasting trend.

Last year, the Bloom Association conducted the most comprehensive survey of shark fin consumption to date in Hong Kong. The results give an idea of how important shark fin soup is in Chinese culture. The Bloom Association found that 89 percent of Hong Kong’s population of 7 million had eaten shark fin soup at least once in the past year. More than 50 percent said they had done so to observe tradition and only 5 percent had chosen not to serve shark fin soup at wedding banquets.

A younger generation of Chinese are starting to have the same reservations many in the US and elsewhere have about the inhumane methods used to obtain the fins and about eating an endangered species. 66 percent of respondents in the Bloom Association survey said they were uncomfortable eating an endangered species and more than 75 percent said they would not object if shark fin soup was taken off wedding menus.

Environmental advocates note that, if over-fishing of sharks continues at the current rate, the species most commonly targeted will very soon be extinct. Traditions are certainly important but certainly some other dish could be substituted for shark fin soup on banquet menus?

 

Related Care2 Coverage

War Declared on Sharks After Recent Attacks

Save the Nautilus, A Living Fossil! (video)

Shocking! 2,000 Sharks Massacred For Their Fins In Colombian Territory

 

 

Read more: , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo by wanto99

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

156 comments

+ add your own
1:31AM PST on Feb 20, 2013

Good to see that the younger generation of Chinese are trying to change some traditions for the greater good!

2:45PM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

For your health, for public health, for the animals, and for our environment, delete the meat and eat veg.

Eco-Eating
www.brook.com/veg

8:06PM PST on Feb 24, 2012

great news

9:38PM PST on Feb 23, 2012

The Chinese and other Far East people and their idiotic fictional beliefs will probably kill animal or species that swims,crawls,walks or flies. The more endangered the more the urge to kill the l;ast one and claim the right to eat the last one no matter how expensive in money or loss to Nature.After one species is killed off it the belief of healing powers will move to the next bird. Why don't they eat fleas,mosquitos, flies, tapeworms, salmonella, or e-coli bacteria. Many of these items also drain blood have anti clotting factors and other properties yet unknown to us.

11:03PM PST on Feb 22, 2012

Agree with Kayla W.

12:43PM PST on Nov 26, 2011

good, I can't imagine wanting to eat that soup anyway.

3:29AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

Lovely to see that the change in consciousness is spreading to China too.

4:27PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Gross.

2:54PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Killing a shark just to eat its' fin is not only cruel but also a terrible waste of a natural resource. With the population of China making up a large percentage of the world's ever growing population a change in their habits could potentially make quite a difference. Having said that maybe if we could all cut down on the amount of food we waste, no matter how we achieve it, would make a significant difference.

1:24PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

About time they did! China is so far behind in animal rights - let alone human rights!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

Fun video, my first dog was so disobedient I had to take him to someone who trained dog teachers! Eventually…

One crazy doggie, he needs alot of lessons, me thinks

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.