In the Chinese culture, shark fin soup is served for special occasions only i.e weddings, anniversaries, and other joyous celebrations. According to reliable records, 20 million sharks are caught, their fins cut, and while still alive, fish are thrown back into the water. A finless shark is a live prey, and lives only for a few hours or minutes!
There are 470 shark species ranging from dwarf lantern shark (17cm.) up to whale shark (12 metres), which is the largest fish in the world. Sharks are found in all the seas of the world, and may be living in a depth of up to 2000 metres. Ichthyologists determined that sharks existed 420 million years ago, and majority of species can be traced back 100 million years.
Most sharks live anywhere from 20 – 39 years, although some have been found and certified as a century old. Shark meat is eaten in Japan, Australia, Sri Lanka, Iceland and other countries, but Chinese revere shark fin soup. In Hong Kong wealthy connoisseurs are known to pay up to $ 300.00 for 500 grams. Sharks “clean” oceans and are considered important to maintaining the natural valance of their environment.
In Toronto serving shark fin soup is prohibited in an attempt to help preserve the genus.