Humans are circling you, closing in.
We human beings, unlike other animals, seek to eat fellow creatures not only to satisfy hunger but for the taste and for the fun of it. We demand and create food purely for pleasure. And for that pleasure we torture and kill over 100,000 million sharks worldwide. Shark fin soup is a status symbol, it is expensive. One can pay up to $400 for a bowl of soup. It is is neither proven nutritious nor tasty without the help of additives. We have cultivated a fake delicacy, a designer dish.
Sharks caught and finned are thrown back into the sea to suffer and die horrifically. Unable to swim, bleeding and desperate, they sink to the bottom, and sometimes take days to die. The shark meat does not fetch a high enough price to bring ashore. Big and often illegal operations deprive smaller fishing communities of their livelihood and shark meat that is their diet. We are depleting the oceans of these creatures leading to a dangerous imbalance of the marine ecosystem.
We, in Hong Kong, are inventive in many fields, and enjoy the status of being the best and the first and the foremost internationally. We also love giving our selves names. I can be Leela for a few years and then choose to be Rainbow, Sparkle, Jealousy, or Standoff.
We are ‘World City’, whether we chose the name or it was given to us, I am not sure but a name we take pride in. And as such ‘A World City’ we boast of many things but one of our restaurants, Sun Tung Lok Restaurant being awarded a Three Star Michelin Prize on 3rd December 2010 is disgusting news however random the choice happened to be. Sun Tung Lok is one of hundreds of restaurants in Hong Kong that still take pride in offering Shark Fin Soup.
Hong Kong is now the global hub of shark fin trade. It is reported Hong Kong accounts for up to 80% of world trade, yes, Hong Kong, a mere dot on the world map. We imported 9,300 tons of dried and frozen shark fins last year.
A walk through the Western District of Hong Kong reveals the biggest variety of dried goods outlets, grocery and medicinal shops: dried fish and shrimps; dried snakes, turtles, frogs, abalone; sea horse and sea-cucumber; bats, ducks and birds, crocodiles; and creatures quaint and rare are on display. This is all very exciting until we come to the disgusting shark fin section of hundreds of shark fin outlets. Recently this area has also become a processing centre. Stretches of pavements drying defrosted fins invade much of the district with the reeking putrid smell of rotting flesh.
Spain, Norway, Britain, France, Portugal and Italy are in the fray, turning a blind eye to the trade. Other fin traders are Taiwan, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Yemen, India, Japan, Mexico and insatiable China.
Dolphin meat is often used as shark bait. Whales, sea turtles and other sea creatures are caught up in the shark nets.
Time we stopped this trade, time we respected sharks.
Let the sharks live, they have been here for over 400 million years.