Around the world, sharks are being harvested for the fins. Hong Kong is the major hub for shark fins in Asia, with most of the fins going into mainland China. The demand for the fins is driven by the popularity of shark fin soup, a delicacy that the Chinese believe is nutritious, with some believing, incorrectly, that it helps prevent osteoarthritis and cancer. For most Chinese the soup is a luxury item, served at social gatherings to show status. It is practically tasteless by itself, and it serves only to provide texture in the soup. With the growth of the middle class in China, this style of soup is driving the massacre of tens of millions of sharks every year.
The New Scientist Culture Lab has a quick review of a new book which examines the Asian shark trade:
Sharks attacking humans is big news; humans attacking sharks, not so much. Conservation photographers Paul Hilton and Alex Hofford are trying to redress this imbalance. In revealing the extent of the bloody trade in shark fins, their book Man and Shark is a testament of our cruelty towards these majestic creatures.
Hilton and Hofford, who both live in Hong Kong, have witnessed the butchery of sharks in places as diverse as Mozambique, Yemen and Sri Lanka. But Hofford had seen nothing until he went to Japan.
“Seeing it in Japan shocked me beyond all belief,” he says. “I thought Yemen was bad, but then I walked into this warehouse and saw 75 tonnes of blue shark laid out across the dock at 8:30 in the morning, with workers silently moving among them, cutting off their fins.” The tableau is the same every morning, except on Sundays, when the market is closed. Hilton calls it “shark genocide”.
Read the complete article in The Shark Soup Massacre and How To Stop It
For more on the campaign against of harvesting shark fins visit WildAid