Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shark Finning is a disgrace

There are so many levels on which the practice of cutting a shark’s fins off and dumping the still alive body back in the sea, is awful. Here I will just stick with the one that caps all the others – it is cruel.
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Shark Finning is a disgrace.

I just watched Gordon Ramsay’s TV programme on shark finning.
I have seen video clips before of sharks having their fins cut off while the sharks are still alive, and then the maimed bodies thrown back into the ocean.
What I saw tonight though was tens of thousands of fins drying in the sun in Taiwan and I heard that 50 million sharks are killed each year for their fins.
No one wants to eat shark meat so it is thrown back. The Chinese, however, want to eat shark fin because it is a status food.
Many of the sharks are on the endangered list. The prediction is that at this rate there will be no sharks by the end of hte century.
Around  Costa Rica where the Taiwanese fishing vessels fish, the shark populations have dropped 60% in nine years.
Gordon Ramsay is a famous British chef. He tried shark fin soup and said it didn’t taste of anything; that is had less taste than the noodles that were in the soup.
All this carnage for a tasteless dish.
There are several levels to the problem. There is the cruelty. There is the waste. There is the cultural resistance. There is the egos of the people involved. There is the multi-million dollar industry that lives on shark finning.
There is also a political question. Who eats the shark fin soup? Is the market all outside of mainland China? There seem to be too many shark fins for this to be the case.
If so, then there is political question of the relationship between Taiwan and mainland China – perhaps the trade is the dark side of the supposedly difficult relationship between the two countries.

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