Have you ever wondered how your sharks fin soup and dumplings are made? Well, I never knew how until I joined a freeze mob conducted by the Hong Kong Shark Foundation at the Avenue of the Stars in Kowloon last May 15. From then, I pledged not to eat shark fin. Sharks are being caught generally not for their meat but for their fins. Fishermen slash out their fins and throw the shark back into the ocean and let them float to die or let other fishes devour their meat.
Sharks fin soup is a delicacy in China which has been thought as a symbol of prosperity by the Chinese since the Ming Dynasty. Today, sharks fin is eaten all over the world without people knowing the hazards of eating it. Let me share to you the article from sharksavers.org:
Shark fins contain high levels of poisonous mercury.
Mercury is a dangerous poison to humans that enters the oceans from pollution. Fish absorb mercury and it accumulates in their bodies. As fish eat other fish, the mercury accumulates and concentrates further up the food chain.
Sharks can have more mercury than any other fish because they are at the top of the food chain, can live for 50 years or more, eat many fish during that lifetime, and continue to store mercury in their bodies during that time. When we eat shark fin soup, a lifetime’s accumulation of mercury is absorbed into our body.
Shark fin soup is incorrectly believed to increase virility, but mercury has been shown to do the very opposite. Mercury has been shown to lower sperm count or can even cause sterility in men. Mercury produces damage to the human central nervous system and causes birth defects in infants. Shark meat is considered dangerous for consumption by women of child-bearing age and children. Many health organizations warn pregnant women not to eat shark while pregnant or if they plan to become pregnant. A recent study in New York City found that one in four Asian born women had dangerously high levels of mercury in their blood. The problem is even worse with dried shark fin than with fresh shark meat because when you dry the fin, you’re actually concentrating the mercury to even greater amounts. Of all the fish products tested, shark fin had the highest mercury concentration by far.
San Francisco, Toronto, Palau, Hawaii, Malaysia, California along with many other countries have done their part to ban shark fin. Hong Kong is doing a great campaign against it. We should do it too.
An estimated 73 million sharks a year are killed for the shark fin trade.
Sharks have survived for over 450 million years let’s not drive them to extinction.
Let’s keep the sharks in the ocean and not in our soup bowls.