Nature and Us: Shark Fin Soup

Shark Fin Soup is a traditional soup that is part of Chinese cuisine. The shark fins provide texture and then the taste comes from the other soup ingredients. It is most commonly served at special occasions such as weddings and banquets, or as a luxury item.

The cartilage in the fins are usually shredded and used to thicken the soup. It embodies good luck, or good fortune. But why are warnings given about eating this dish? And what impact does this have on the population of sharks?

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Mercury.

According to ScienceDirect, there is Mercury and arsenic in processed fins from nine of the most traded shark species in the Hong Kong and China dried seafood markets. A team discovered that the food being consumed by the people contains high levels of mercury that is actually legally considered unsafe for humans.

According to a 2018 report by Marine Policy, more than 1 million tons of shark product are caught each year. This translates to about 100 million sharks that are killed per year

Shark Soup

Affect on the shark

After their fins have been cut off, sharks are able to survive a little while, however because they cannot move to filter oxygen through their gills, they sink to the bottom of the ocean and die in excruciating pain either due to lack of oxygen or hunger, often both.

It is sickening to think that millions of sharks are subjected to this each year. How can this amount of pain be a sign of good luck for a human, regardless of traditions?

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Affect on the environment

Shark populations have significantly decreased over the previous years, and no doubt! The amount of sharks harvested and lack of selection deplete the populations faster than they can reproduce.

Up to 99% of the shark is wasted.

What is being done to stop the cruelty?

Some steps have been taken to stop the pain. Bans have been made but in order for these bans to work, they need to be enforced. Here are just 2 of the bans that have been made in the US:

What can you do?

Aside from the obvious, (Not eating the soup), one way is to sign this petition: Sign the No Shark Pledge.

Humane Society International have a form to sign that means you can show your support for those who are against this form of cruelty.

There is also a campaign being held by the Shark trust where you can either donate or fundraise!


To read more about why I have decided to talk about this, head on over to my Nature and Us page. Also subscribe to my site below.