Shark Fin Soup

10 March 2008

My roommate came home from the Asian market today with a banana flower. This is the flower, that left to bloom and change, will eventually bear banana fruit. Not sure what we’re going to do with the banana flower, but I’m sure I’ll find it in a dish on a table near me soon.

She mentioned that she almost got a shark fin to make shark fin soup with. I gasped…

Now I know that my roommate does her part in helping the earth with recycling her garbage, using rainbarrels in our yard and putting the eggshells out for the slug control. But would she really purchase shark fins?

One of my favorite Save the Sharks organizations is WildAid out of California…and they report:
There are 400 species of shark, and many are used for their fins. Blue, hammerhead and silky sharks are the most highly traded in Hong Kong. Mako and thresher are also popular, and great white is also used. All these species are found off the California coast.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says over 100 million sharks, skates and rays are killed every year. We figure that’s just half the total, because another half is unreported. This total threatens sharks because they reproduce slowly, more like mammals than fish. Some sharks only have 1-2 pups every other year, and they may take nine or more years to mature.

Shark populations are quickly declining — the dusky-shark population in the U.S. Atlantic has declined 90 percent. Sharks are the apex predators that keep everything else in balance.

My friend, Shawna Meyer frolics among the Humboldt Squid with her boyfriend Scott Cassell (of Discovery Channel fame). They note that the fish populations are being devastated in larger areas all the time because the sharks aren’t around in big enough numbers to control the Humboldt Squid. The Humboldt will go through and eat everything in its path…and must be controlled by our larger, apex friends. Without sharks, the worlds oceans are in trouble.

I told my roommate “NO.” No shark fin soup…or I’ll take the recycling and throw it in the dumpster, use fresh water on the garden and leave the lights on needlessly.