What Is Shark Fin Soup and Why Should it Be Banned in California and Beyond?
By Sara Novak
Shark fin soup has been at the center of controversy of late because it is one of the leading causes of the global decline of the one of our ocean's most important predators. Shark finning claims between 26 million and 73 million sharks annually, according to Science News. But what exactly is shark fin soup anyway and why is it considered such a delicacy or a status symbol for that matter?
Shark fin soup is made from a variety of shark fins. While the shark meat itself isn't worth very much money and as a result is often just thrown back into the ocean at a complete waste, the fins are extremely pricey, going for $300 per pound. The fins are processed by removing the skin and then drying them out completely. Sometimes hydrogen peroxide is added to the fins for color. The fins are sold either frozen or dried. The flavor of the soup itself comes mostly from the broth and the fins themselves are chewy and crunchy. It seems the price, certainly not the flavor, is what really impresses people at up to $100 per bowl. But it's certainly not worth what Time Magazine has called "extinction in a bowl."
Shark Finning Is Brutal and Wasteful
According to Pacific Daily News, the importance of sharks in our ocean's ecosystem should be a vital concern to us all. "Sharks are not only natural predators, they are critical partners, cleaning and balancing agents in our surrounding waters."
Jaymi reported on the brutal practice of shark finning last year. A shark is caught, pulled onboard a boat, its fins are cut off, and the still-living shark is tossed back overboard to drown or bleed to death.
Banning Shark Fin Possession in California
A new bill introduced by two California lawmakers seeks to ban possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins, used in shark fin soup.
While shark finning was banned in US waters thanks to the Shark Conservation Act, which Obama signed this year, no other states except Hawaii have banned the possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins. The only exception is at a North Carolina Fishery, which according to Our Amazing Planet, was made so that North Carolina Senator Richard Burr would sign the bill.
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