In the Chinese culture, shark fin soup is served fro special occasions only i.e weddings, anniversaries, and other joyous celebrations.
According to reliable sources, 20 million sharks are caught every year, their fins cut, and while still alive they 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 lanterns shark (17 cms.) up to whale shark (12meters), which is the largest fish in the world. Sharks inhabit all the seas of the world, and some live up to 2000 metres deep.
Ichtiologists determined that sharks existed 420 million years ago, and the majority of species can be traced back 100 million years back.
Most sharks live between 20 – 30 years, although some have been certified as a century old.
Shat meat is eaten in Japan, Australia, Sri Lanka, Iceland, and other countries, but Chinese revere shark fin soup for which they pay in Hong Kong up to $ 300.00 for 500 grams.
Sharks “clean” the oceans and are considered important in maintaining the natural balance of their environment.
Shark fin has no taste of its own. The taste in a shark fin soup comes from flavouring ingredients used in its preparation. What the fin contributes is texture, because of its gelatinous compositions!
Shark fin is available fresh in southeastern Far eastern countries, farther afield, dried or frozen.
Naturalists consider catching a fish and removing its fins while still alive and returning it to seas barbaric, and fight as vigorously as they can to outlaw this practice.
Some North American jurisdictions have legislated a ban on shark fin soup, and which Chinese restaurateurs oppose.
Some claim cultural discrimination, others, business loss.
The issue is complex, steeped in cultural tradition, with many seeing banning as an attack on their heritage.
The business loss occurs if one municipality bans it, and the neighbouring does not. The customer interested in consuming shark fin soup will, therefore go to the next town.
If a regulation is legislated, it must either apply provincially or country wide, but such a thing seems to be very unlikely.
Shark fin, as many delicacies such bird’s nest soup, eating live animals, turtle soup, and several other examples represent moral dilemmas.
As a restaurant operator, before you decide to offer them think twice. As a consumer you have a choice. Discourage such offers by refusing to consume them and stop patronizing establishments that offer such `delicacies`.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.