Sunday, July 3, 2011

Save the world: Don't take shark fin soup

The Kelly Tarlton bus picks visitors from Downtown.

When I was growing up in my parents' home. I ate almost anything you can imagine. As I grew older, many of those exotic things don't appeal to me any more. Shark fin soup is one. I saw on documentaries, when fishermen hacked off the shark fins and throw them overboard, sharks are unable to swim and they drown.

I have been teaching Under the sea with my juniors, and we made up a story that sharkie could be friends with a Tangiwha aka a sea monster.

Call to boycott 'cruel' soup
By Conor Whitten

New Zealand Forest and Bird is urging diners to boycott a popular Chinese delicacy amid concerns over inhumane fishing practices.

Shark-fin soup is a symbol of wealth and prestige in Chinese culture, selling for as much as $300 a serve in some local restaurants.

But Forest and Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said targeting sharks for their fins was a "barbaric practice".

Sharks in New Zealand waters can be finned as long as they are dead, but Mr Hackwell said there was plenty of evidence that live finning took place.

"We know it's going on. We've been asking the Government for quite a while to do something."

While the Government was set to review shark fishing regulations in 2013, the public could do something now by avoiding restaurants that had shark fin on the menu.

"People have power as consumers. We're the ones who buy the products," said Mr Hackwell.

Shark-finning is illegal in many countries including Britain, the United States and Australia.

The fins are the most valuable part of the animal. After they're removed, the shark is often thrown overboard.

Aucklander James Lawson saw a group walk out of the popular Grand Harbour Restaurant after a confrontation over the presence of shark fin on the menu. Attempts to get comment from the Viaduct eatery yesterday were unsuccessful.

"Finning is prohibited in Australia, the USA, the EU, but not here," said Mr Lawson. "This is abhorrent. Is this what we do in New Zealand?"

Another Auckland restaurant that sells the soup is Crystal Harbour. Its manager, Carlton Sui, said complaints were uncommon.

"I think it's just a real minority of people," said Mr Sui.

Shark populations are rapidly declining worldwide on the back of the $1 billion fin industry and as a "by-catch" of targeting other fish.

A Department of Conservation source said New Zealand tuna fishermen caught up to two and a half times as many sharks as tuna.

Greenpeace marine biologist Karli Thomas said: "A lot of these sharks are being taken in fisheries targeting tuna, but the value of the shark fins means they're a kind of target in themselves."


Reader Wil said...

What people do to animals is beyond imagination. The cruelty is unbelievable. Your post is very good. You always draw the attention to what should be done and you advocate and support good causes! Thank you!
BTW I am also impressed by the two ladies you mentioned.I sincerely hope that more women are doing this!If possible all women!

Lilly said...

Very good article. I cannot understand everytime I go to the market, there is an abundance of fish, let alone "Shark Fin", which I would not buy. Everything is overfished and soon the world will have none - stupid fishermen that make the big bucks by over fishing and that means anything. How cruel to cut the fin off and throw the shark back in to drown. There is so much of all of this going on all over the world, just not with sharks. Your post is great Ann, hope people read n heed.

Kim, USA said...

I don't understand why people love to kill huge animal for just a soup ^_^ Just like how they took away birds nest for a good birds nest soup, geez!! Can't they just settle for what is available in the market and not to go in the middle of the ocean or climb the mountain for something they called "exotic" food?? Seems like people are getting greedier every single day. ^_^ Happy weekedays!

Jama said...

I don't understand why they only take the fins and dispose of the shark, the meat can be eaten too....I've seen the shark meat being sold here in the market.
You're right about the neck ache I got after pointing my camera upward, especially with my heavy camera! but I love that perspective.

Ann said...

Jama raised a good point, why chop off the shark fin and throw back the shark in the ocean. This is my reasoning, shark meat though can be eaten, is very very cheap. The fishermen do not want to store the bulky shark in their fishing boats which needs ice to keep them fresh. Just cut off the fins, which requires a small space. Logical?

Reader Wil said...

Thank you Ann! I fully agree with you that women are still discriminated against. More is the pity.

Small Footprints said...

I've recently read about many fish populations becoming endangered because of over-fishing and over-consumption ... and often, as in this case, for just a small portion of an animal considered to be a delicacy. It's sad and I hope that people will boycott such activities ... after all, when all the fish are gone, what will our world be like? I don't think it will be good! Thanks, Ann!