Distaste Widening for Shark’s Fin Soup

Publication: The Washington Post

Author: Juliet Eilperin


06/05/2011 - Coral Seafood Restaurant owner Norman Ho’s problem with shark’s fin soup is not that he’s worried about sharks. It’s that making a flavorful soup out of the tasteless fins is an elaborate, costly process.

The fins have to be soaked in cold water for half a day and then boiled with ginger and spring onions. Then soaked in tap water for four hours. And finally boiled for six to eight hours with chicken stock and Chinese ham to add flavor because there’s no taste otherwise.

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“A few years ago, people didn’t even know there are sharks in Chile,” said Maximiliano Bello, a senior adviser on global shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group, who is pushing for similar reforms in Venezuela.

In many countries, these lobbying drives involve all the trappings of a political campaign: the Bahamas National Trust, a non-profit organization that manages the country’s park system, has run public service announcements on radio and TV, collected 5,000 signatures in favor of the shark fishing ban and gotten advocates, including artist Guy Harvey and “Sherman’s Lagoon” cartoonist Jim Toomey, to visit the islands to generate popular support.

Still, Matt Rand, who directs global shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group, said that only a decline in the demand for shark’s fin soup will help preserve sharks. “I hope we’re getting to a tipping point,” Rand said. “We’ve still got a way to go.”

Read the full article Distaste Widening for Shark’s Fin Soup on The Washington Post's Web site.

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