At millions of restaurants around the world, “shark fin soup” is served as a common delicacy. What the menu won’t tell you, however, is about the cruel practice used in order to harvest those fins.
Shark finning, a practice recently banned in New Zealand among other regions, involves catching live sharks and cutting off their dorsal fin. The sharks are then released back into the water, where they are unable to swim and slowly die. Scientists estimate that over 100 million sharks are killed each year, which means that over 50 shark species are now at high risk of extinction.
Despite the harmful and ecologically destructive practice of shark finning, many countries still demand fins to make expensive soup dishes. Though popular airlines such as Thai Airways have recently banned the transport of shark products, shark fins can still be sold for up to $300 per pound in many places throughout Asia. As the backlash grows against the practice, shark fin dealers now sell the fins in areas hidden from the public eye – including rooftops. While the fact that shark fins are still regarded as a delicacy is disheartening, at the very least shark finning is now commonly regarded as a shameful practice. Click here for more information about the shark fin market.