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Shark fin soup: Not just bad for the shark!

Posted by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:33 PM
  • 28 Replies

 

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 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 its mercury content has been shown to do the very opposite: it lowers 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.

Shark fin soup is responsible for the destruction of shark populations throughout the world.

Shark fin soup has been a Chinese delicacy since the Ming Dynasty. Back then, only the Emperor and his guests ate it. Until about twenty years ago, shark fin soup was served mostly in Hong Kong and other cities with Chinese populations, but only rarely in China, itself. This relatively low consumption of shark fin soup did not result in a significant problem for shark survival.

But now, many of the 1.3 billion people of China are enjoying more prosperity. Shark fin soup has become popular, even obligatory, at banquets, business dinners, and weddings. That addes up to a lot of shark fin soup, and a lot of sharks are being killed for this soup.

Over 100 million sharks are killed each year, and the greatest cause is the growing demand for shark fin soup. The fins from between 26 million and 73 million sharks move through the Hong Kong shark fin markets alone, each year. These sharks are generally not caught for their meat, but for their valuable fins. The most prized shark fins can cost hundreds of dollars, with the average being about $40 per pound. Shark meat, in contrast, is worth less than most fish.

In large parts of the oceans, populations of sharks are already down by 90% or more in just the last 20 years. This problem is made worse because sharks reproduce very slowly, taking years to reach sexual maturity and then reproducing few young. Many species will not be able to out-reproduce the demands of the shark fin trade.

Why we need to keep sharks in the oceans and out of our soup bowls.

Sharks play a very important role in the oceans in a way that an average fish does not. Sharks are at the top of the food chain and keep populations of other fish healthy and in proper proportion for their eco-system.

Where sharks are eliminated, other bad events result. The fish that sharks used to eat become more plentiful. For example, no sharks means there will be more skates and rays which then eat more shellfish. The result would be no shellfish for humans, and shellfish won’t be able to filter and clean the ocean water. This is not mere speculation: there are already several studies indicating that the elimination of sharks results in loss of other desireable species and major disruption of the ecosystem.

Sharks have survived for 450 million years and yet we are on course for killing them off within a few years. Then, there will be no more shark fin soup, other seafood species will disappear, and the oceans will no longer support the healthy balance of sea life that we need to survive. Even from the perspective of self-interest, shark fin soup is problematic.

We can do our part by not eating shark fin soup and encouraging our family and friends not to eat it. The taste of shark fin soup is not shark. It is usually chicken broth. Shark fin does not contain the traditionally believed high levels of nutrition content. Its value is cultural, but not essential. If we still want to have shark fin soup, artificial shark fin is worth considering, as it is less expensive and many people have trouble telling the difference from the real thing.

Balance and moderation are valued tenets of traditional Chinese way of life. We can all take pride and honor in recreating a balance to our ecosystem by choosing not to eat shark fin soup.

http://www.stopsharkfinning.net/shark-fin-soup.htm

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/618227620



by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:33 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Mickiamommyof4
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:36 PM

you like posting the short story to raise awareness for the animals ?

confused

2boymama
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:36 PM

 very interesting..I would never eat a shark anyways..way too much respect for them, we love the sharks

btw...did you change your screenname or have I just not logged in in that many days? lol

      

UxorQuodMatris
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:37 PM

Yes I did lol

Formerly MaddiesMaMa418

Quoting 2boymama:

 very interesting..I would never eat a shark anyways..way too much respect for them, we love the sharks

btw...did you change your screenname or have I just not logged in in that many days? lol




adamsmama
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:42 PM


 

Quote:

Shark fin soup is responsible for the destruction of shark populations throughout the world.


Really? I would think pollution and ecological damage caused by Western nations would cause more destruction than small time fishermen looking to make a traditonal dish.


Lilypie

UxorQuodMatris
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:43 PM

lol Maybe I'm just dense, but are you saying you want a shorter version?

There's a link at the bottom of the post, try there.  If this isn't what you were saying then I'm sorry.

Quoting Mickiamommyof4:

you like posting the short story to raise awareness for the animals ?

confused




UxorQuodMatris
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:45 PM


Quoting adamsmama:


 

Quote:

Shark fin soup is responsible for the destruction of shark populations throughout the world.


Really? I would think pollution and ecological damage caused by Western nations would cause more destruction than small time fishermen looking to make a traditonal dish.


Sharks aren't just targeted by small time fisherman, there's a large demand for fins in the orient, making it a commercial trade.



Mickiamommyof4
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:46 PM


Quoting UxorQuodMatris:

lol Maybe I'm just dense, but are you saying you want a shorter version?

There's a link at the bottom of the post, try there.  If this isn't what you were saying then I'm sorry.

Quoting Mickiamommyof4:

you like posting the short story to raise awareness for the animals ?

confused

 

I wasn't getting the point of the post but I see in your siggy the answer thanks!


 

UxorQuodMatris
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Bump!



UxorQuodMatris
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Quoting UxorQuodMatris:

Bump!




UxorQuodMatris
by on Aug. 28, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Quoting UxorQuodMatris:

Bump!




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