Aggressive as it is, people value the shark highly. This great mammal’s fin is the main ingredient in many sumptuous dishes.
This ferocious symbol of fear has other uses as well. Its cartilage has healing properties. Cosmetic companies use shark-based squalene in their products.
Man has many reasons to hunt it, but there are just as many arguments why he should stop.
The history of shark’s fin soup
The story goes that an emperor who lived during China’s Sung dynasty created shark’s fin. He wanted to find a way to show his wealth and power. It became a mainstay of Chinese cuisine.
The dish quickly became a status symbol and a popular delicacy in China. The Chinese believe that a wedding banquet without shark’s fins shows that the bride is marrying into a poor family.
It complements the Chinese virtue of sharing one’s prosperity with others. Families exchange packages of
shark’s fin on special occasions to signify mutual blessings.
The uses of shark’s fin
Apart from being a delicacy, a shark’s fins has other uses.
Manufacturers use shark-based squalene in many cosmetic products you are familiar with. Popular makeup brands make use of shark-based squalene. A saving grace is that many of these companies have vowed not to make use of shark-based products in the future.
Sharks fins have medicinal uses as well. Shark liver oil soothes irritations of the medicinal tract and boosts the immune system. It is also used to prevent cancer. Researchers have used it to improve the efficacy of vaccines.
Why you should not eat shark’s fin
This is an endangered species.
Sharks existed millions of years before the first human appeared. The once majestic monarchs of the sea now near extinction. Like all mammals, they take roughly 20 years to reach full maturity. This makes them prone to becoming animals of the past.
Eating shark’s fin soup leads to over-fishing. Sharks, apex predators at the top of the food chain, have a major role in stabilizing ecological environments. Fewer sharks increase octopus populations, which, in turn, decrease lobster populations. This leads to the potential collapse of the oceanic ecosystem.
It is a global concern.
Sharks’ fins are usually associated with Asian dishes. This, however, is not a purely Asian concern. While some states in America have made the trading of sharks’ fins illegal, the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000 does not bar their distribution.
Long lining kills other marine animals.
Fishermen extend long lines, hoping to lure sharks with bait. They end up killing turtles, seabirds and other marine animals. Statistics show that fishermen throw over 25% of this catch back into the ocean and leave it to die.
It is wasteful.
Finning sharks is a cruel and wasteful practice. Fishermen save the fins, and throw the rest of the shark’s body into the ocean. Shark meat is not popular because of its high ammonia content.
Shark’s fins’ soup is a connosieur’s delight, but there are many reasons to give it a miss.