I Love Shark’s Fin Soup – A Personal Testimonial by Kirk Keong Lee

Being a Chinese n love good food,
I’ve always loved SFS (Shark Fin Soup).The only time i get to taste them is during Wedding Banquets. My tongue would feel happy when it come to second dish of the night “THE Shark Fin Soup” The strategy is – I would slurp up and be the first to finish the soup on the first serve so I can get a second serve 🙂 . Normally this dish is served during Chinese wedding banquets and corporate dinners. There are those wealthier ones who would order this dish on a more regular basis at Chinese restaurants, but most people don’t because it is pricey.
It never crossed my mind on how Shark Fins were obtained, harvested and at what rate was the killing. I continued with my craze without any guilt even though I was then a diver. Yah yah, they are already dead anyway and being Chinese, my mom always teaches us not to waste food… If i don’t eat it, someone else would, may as well I enjoy this great soup (perfect excuse).
Until 1 day, I came to watch a clip
It is about this Juvenile Whale Shark, my favorite fish and it is the biggest fish in the world. What else can I say about this magnificent Gentle Giant roaming our ocean…  On the 15th of February 2010, in Philippines, a group of Divers found this Shark, belly up, without fins… (Pectoral fins act like a steering wheel, and Dorsal fin as to balance the fish) the fish is alive, bleeding, suffering n dying… The group decided to bring the Fish up shore to shorten the pain and suffering. I was happily youtubing and came to this video footage on 23 March 2010. I stop and felt it… could not sleep, was up the whole morning thinking about it, 3 days later SOSFABOS (Save Our Sharks From A Bowl Of Soup) was founded on Facebook…
Shark finning is cruel and non-sustainable
The fish is alive when their fins are cut off, it’s just like cutting our arms and legs off while we’re alive and leaving us to die… without the Pectoral n Dorsal fins, the Shark can no longer swim and eventually dies.
What does shark fin taste like?
It’s basically just cartilage, tasteless and no proven medical value, what we like about the soup is actually chicken broth and a mix of other seafood. 
Is it safe to eat shark’s fin soup during pregnancy?
NO,this dish is actually unhealthy and harmful, because sharks are heavily contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals. Mercury (which cannot be removed by cooking) could harm your baby’s developing nervous system. International wildlife protection group WildAid has also warned that eating too much shark’s fin can cause sterility in men.
Japan’s Shark Fin Capital, Kesen-numa City 75 tons of shark fins
Sharks are getting close to extinction but why are they not protected?
Sharks are not protected because people make so much money from killing them! Sharks fin soup is a status symbol and people spend heaps of money for it. Because sharks are on top of the food chain, nature has made sure there are never too many sharks. They become mature only very late in life (some only after 20 years) and they make very few young. That is also why they are so vulnerable to extinction. More than 73 million sharks are cruelly killed each year solely for SFS. They are very often fished out before they are old enough to breed, just to supply all the restaurants and shops with fins. But the biggest problem is this (very much symplified): Sharks being the top of the ocean’s food chain, maintain the balance of the oceanic ecosystem, without sharks, the ecosystem will suffer an imbalance and will collapse, 70% of the world’s oxygen comes from Phytoplankton in the ocean. Life on land depends on life underwater to thrive. Therefore, we must conserve sharks and let them be in peace roaming the waters in which they belong, not in our bowl…
Sharks extinction for your bowl of soup?
Shark Fin Soup should not equal Shark Extinction.
You decide for the fate of Sharks, Phytoplankton and Our Ocean.
Rejecting Shark Fin Soup is not a waste because every time you consume, you are contributing to the cruelty n pushing Sharks into extinction…
Why Saving Shark Only?
I agree there are other animals being harvest in cruelty and some pushed into extinction, people would jump to Saving Whale, Dolphin and Turtle, but Shark… Some may not aware in a few years time BlueFin Tuna will go extinct too…
I would love to save other animals too (including Human). It would not be enough even if I spent my entire remaining time on this earth trying to save Sharks itself. 
A friend told me, “If you have $20 in your hand to donate out and trying to save something, would you further break the amount into 20 charity group n give $1 each to be fair? or it would be wise to focus on 1 or 2 charity group to be effectivel?”
Please join us, quit consuming Shark Fin Soup as Consuming equals Killing and Drives the trade that pushes Sharks into Extinction…
Thanks for sharing Kirk! I know more and more people in Malaysia are becoming better educated on our food chain and the delicate balance upon which our entire ecosystem relies. It’s also encouraging to see hotels such as the Shangri La making a brave stance in refusing to sell shark’s fin, but also making concerted efforts to support fish coming from sustainable farms. I’m happy to say many of my blogger friends are now saying “No” to shark’s fin soup and the expat community too are refusing to dine in restaurants that continue to sell it. The Yum List readers, please feel free to share Kirk’s article with your friends. We can make a difference, one mind at a time. 🙂 
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  1. yup no to shark fin soup…
    Crab, prawn & scallop meat soup is equally good…
    actually there is no taste for shark fin…

  2. Am glad you shared this post. You're right about it being tasteless. If at all there is any attraction, it is perhaps the texture which can actually be replicated easily. And if it is to be served, then it should at least come from ethical fishing.

    • I just read that we fish over 73million sharks a year! And mostly it's just for the fins because they are the most valuable. So it's not profitable for fishers to take the whole shark back to shore, they slice off the fins, throw the lower costing meat back into the ocean and only return with that small part. But… the only reason the fin is so valuable is tradition, people's perception and demand. As Kirk says, when the buying stops, so does the killing.

  3. very persuasively argued, from all angles. i think it's very cool that more restaurants have stopped serving shark fins, but part of me wishes they would still serve fin-less versions of the soup. without the shark fins, the mixture of shredded crab meat, chicken stock, potato starch and a splash of vinegar remains comfortingly delicious. it's a great recipe for a broth, and it'd be totally ethical 😀

    • Yes indeed. The broth sounds delicious. I really think it's a matter of education. I understand the prestige that some associate with shark's fin, but I'm sure those same people, if they knew the truth about how the apex of the ocean's food chain is being fished out and the greater consequences for the ecosystem, they would reevaluate.

  4. Indeed sharkskin itself is tasteless, it's the soup n other ingredient that makes it good! I think the restaurant shud think of a way to substitute the fin soup with something else, hmmmm maybe abalone soup?

  5. Nowadays I don't consume any shark fin soup when I attend any weddings. =)

  6. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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