Dozens of weary Indonesian fishermen sail into a busy port on the resort island of Bali celebrating their lucrative and controversial haul that is destined to end up at Chinese banquets.
The fishermen show off about 100 shark fins, already sliced off the carcasses, that are ready to be sold to middle-men and then most likely onwards to mainland China or cities around the world with big Chinese populations.
“We don’t only look for sharks – we mainly catch tuna and marlin – but finding sharks is a good bonus. Their fins are worth a lot and the meat is easy to sell locally,” said 33-year-old Warsito, who goes by one name.
Fishermen around Bali sell shark fins fresh off the boat for between $15 and $50, helping to satiate an ancient but fast-growing Chinese appetite for soup in which it is the main ingredient.
via The Jakarta Globe.
The most accurate assessment to date of the impact of commercial fishing on sharks suggests around 100 million are being killed each year.The researchers say that this rate of exploitation is far too high, especially for a species which reproduces later in life.The major factor driving the trade is the ongoing demand for shark fins for soup in Chinese communities.
Last year six people were killed by sharks worldwide. Multiply that number by more than 12 million and you get close to the number of sharks killed for human consumption each year.
OK, we made that up. But so are dozens of customs that purport to usher prosperity and longevity into our lives.
The fact of the matter is this – sharks’ fins do not add any flavour to your soup – it’s the other ingredients that make the soup taste what it tastes like. Stay away from it, and the whole marine eco-system will thank you for it, and you never know, you might be making your own luck by doing just that.
Originally posted on miyagi.sg
Give shark’s fin a miss – you’re really eating chicken stock and cartilage anyway. Don’t listen to people who say all those stories about fishermen cruelly slicing off fins and dumping the shark back in the sea are false. You tell me, what do they really do with the rest of the shark? (OK, fish and chips, fish fingers, cat food… yes, I looked it up. But still!?)
I’m not sure what else we eat during Chinese New Year that are on the protected list, but please pause and ponder, because even if we Chinese are not the only ethnic group that thinks along the lines of “the more endangered it is, the more prized the delicacy”, we certainly are the largest ethnic group on the planet.
There’s a Facebook Group called Project:FIN and it aims to stop the consumption of sharks’ fin by debunking and questioning the very reasons we consume it. E.g.:
It is questionable why we are paying so much for a “delicacy” that we don’t even know what it actually taste like. Simply because the fins are tasteless. What we are actually enjoying, is the taste of chicken / pork stock, alongside other ingredients that gives flavor to the dish. And to think that the insistence of buying tasteless food and paying for them at ridiculous prices, is a mockery on its own.
Join it, spread the word, and help finish the fin trade!