Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Shark Finning: The Ugly Facts

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This is a television commercial by the Sea Shepherd. It is an appeal to stop finning sharks. Shark finning refers to the cruel practice of capturing sharks and slicing off their fins. Shark fins are a Chinese delicacy — they are the main ingredient in shark fin soup. Since shark meat isn’t worth the cost of transporting the massive shark bodies to market, the finless animals are thrown back into the water, alive. Without its fins, the shark cannot swim, so it sinks beneath the waves where it drowns in a watery grave.


Comments

  1. #1 Carlos
    December 16, 2009

    Mankind is really stupid when it comes to treating other predators. Sharks are probably the most wonderfull non-tetrapods alive in the oceans, and sadly propaganda to save them rarely works. By contrast, everyone LUVS DOLPHINS!!!! Yeah, I’d like to see if some of those retarded dolphin fans went near a school of wild dolphins. I think dolphins should be the target of finning, not sharks

  2. #2 Prawn
    December 16, 2009

    I really hope that madness will end before too much shark species be gone.

    Chinese ae going way too far. And many countries, like mine : France, are just closing their eyes, because – know what? – they just don’t care : public opinion worries about whales or seals, but not sharks. Even scientist haven’t give a good estimation of remaining population of sharks yet.

    Let me explain how it is in France : our leaders won’t say they won’t defend sharks, but sharks fins are sold by french fishermen under the name “dried fish” and then, if its dried fish, this can be anything -no one care- dried fins of the last shark – well, no problem, just export it to china, the authorities don’t care.

    I heard that recently a population of shark was shown to be to different species, so if you consider that some species are right know at the edge of the extinction… What if you show that population you consider threaten at the edge of extinction are in fact two distinct species? Well, that easy : you realize then that you have two future extinct species more.

    Really sad.

  3. #3 Katharine
    December 16, 2009

    I find that much of the killing of endangered species for parts is usually due to the fact that the people killing them are morons.

    Which I think makes a pretty good case for beating the shit out of alt-med around the world, for one. Including tribal medicines.

    I don’t care if it’s fucking with an economy or a culture, really; if you don’t stop it now, they’re going to run out of the resource anyway.

  4. #4 Kelvin
    December 16, 2009

    @1:

    So, you are trying to say that instead of sharks, we should kill dolphins in a way that causes excessive suffering?!

  5. #5 MadScientist
    December 17, 2009

    People are clueless – and also driven by desperation and desires. On the one hand, they may not realize what damage they are causing (decimating the shark populations) and on the other hand even if they did know they may not care because they’d rather have a boatload of fins to sell so that they can feed their family – or buy a house – or whatever.

    In my travels I’ve seen communities so damned stupid that they’ve eradicated resources – cut down bamboo until it no longer grew (quite an accomplishment of determined stupidity), driven fish, coral, crabs, squid to extinction in the local area, cut down orchard trees for firewood (and never so much as planted a single replacement tree of any sort). It’s not only the sharks that are in danger (although they are treated so cruelly) – humans are destroying and threatening all marine fauna.

    By the way, what species of shark get finned? There are many species of shark that are fished for food (not to mention most of them don’t have much of a fin on them).

  6. #6 MadScientist
    December 17, 2009

    I’d just like to add that the only portion of interest in shark fin is the cartilage; the skin and any trace of muscle is stripped away. When prepared properly for shark fin soup, it has absolutely no taste – it’s just like little clear but firm noodles. You could substitute bean noodles, which wouldn’t have quite the same texture, but it certainly wouldn’t affect the taste or smell of the soup. So all in all it’s a huge waste of the animal – a bit like the injuns shooting buffalo to sell the skins and leaving the carcass on the ground – except that the skin serves some use for quite a while.

  7. #7 lucas
    December 17, 2009

    any hippie worth his tofu knows that native americans(aka: injuns) used every part of the buffalo

  8. #8 Prawn
    December 17, 2009

    @Madscientist : just every species that can be finned.

    About the cartilage, it can be replaced by cartilage of pig for example, it would have the same taste (none).

    And when the communities you spoke of will have fished until there’s any shark left, when the loss of sharks will have had its necessary catastrophic consequence, well, what will they fish? Nothing, they will just die starving. No more houses, no more food for the whole family.

  9. #9 mackerelsaladboy
    December 20, 2009

    Yes, I agree that it is totally bland, it turned up in a bowl of soup I had in a HK restaurant, and I didn’t realise what it was until it was pointed out to me.

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