Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  36 / 164 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 36 / 164 Next Page
Page Background


Shark Finning

Angela Yan

Orator of the Year


Sitting at a large round table in a noisy restaurant, I tasted my first

mouthful of shark fin soup. At first it looked strange, but when I

tasted it, it didn’t taste strange at all, it was surprisingly delicious!

What is shark fin soup you may ask? Well, it’s a thick soup made with

chicken and ham broth with shark fin and shredded chicken or crab

meat. When I was younger, I certainly thought all that flavour came

from the shark fin, but really, it doesn’t even contribute to the taste.

Shark fin is regarded a delicacy and a health tonic in Asia,

particularly China, and is traditionally consumed by the wealthy

minority of Chinese people who believe that it can cure most serious

illnesses. It sounds perfect with all its ‘benefits’, don’t you think? But

do we really know how it comes to our tables? Shark fin is extremely

expensive with a kilo of it selling for up to $650! This explains why

so many people have joined this multi-billion dollar industry. Firstly,

the sharks are pulled onto a boat and, still alive, all of their fins are

sliced off with a hot knife before the sharks are thrown back into the

water. With no fins left and losing blood, the sharks can no longer

swim and sink to the bottom of the ocean. They then endure a slow,

painful death. This is the common and brutal routine of shark

finning in 145 countries, particularly Indonesia, India, Spain, Taiwan,

Argentina, Mexico, Pakistan, United States, Japan andMalaysia. The

fins are then traded, harvested, dried and sold to restaurants to be

made into soup. Approximately 73 million sharks are slaughtered

annually by humans for their fins. On the other hand, approximately

6 people are killed by sharks each year. Sharks are killed for their

precious fins to be served to us in gleaming bowls of soup. Sharks are

killed for soup?

For medicinal benefits and display of wealth, we are sacrificing

the ‘wolves’ and the ‘bears’ of the sea that help to maintain the

marine ecosystem. When you think of sharks, you may think of

movies such as, Jaws, where sharks are portrayed as killing machines.

In fact, when they do harm someone, they are just curious and do

not have this intention. The biggest predator is mankind. Sharks

help keep the fish population healthy by only preying on the old, sick,

or weak fish to prevent disease. Sharks are so special that scientists

say that they are the ‘keystone’ species and without them, the whole

food web will collapse and become unbalanced. A loss of sharks

leads to not just a devastation in the marine environment, but it can

also lead to the loss of certain foods we need for