Friday, May 02, 2008

Fake shark fins anyone?

a Mako shark all ready to be finned than thrown back into the sea ALIVE... How cruel!

While Googling for free shark photos on-line, this article pops up.

Fake fins eye saving sharks, Chinese wallets

by Staff WritersTokyo (AFP) Oct 19, 2007

A Japanese company is launching fake shark fins in China, hoping to tap a market as prices for real ones rise amid concerns the species is being hunted to extinction.
Shark fin is considered one of the highest-end delicacies in Chinese cuisine and also fetches high prices in select Japanese restaurants.

Nikko Yuba Seizo Co. a Japanese food-processing company, said it had developed artificial shark fins made out of pork gelatin. Its top executives returned Friday from a two-day trip to China to introduce the products.

"Shark fin prices have been rising constantly in recent years due to a fall in the volume traded, so we decided to develop an artificial fin," said Tadashi Kozuka, a top official of the company which also trades real shark fins imported from Indonesia, Brazil and elsewhere.

"We visited Shanghai and Dalian -- big cities where wealthy Chinese people live -- to seek trading partners. I guess fins sell well among rich people," he said.

But he said the artificial version would also appeal to Chinese who would not be able to afford the real fins, which are served as a luxury at weddings and other important occasions.
Kozuka said the company had long queues of customers when it first presented its product in China at a trade fair in June in the southern city of Guangzhou.

The price of the gelatin-made fin costs only one-tenth of the real one, or about 1,500 yen (15 dollars) per kilogram when sold wholesale, he said.

Controversy over China's appetite for shark's fin rose last year when the country's most famous sports personality, basketball star Yao Ming, called for a boycott of the dish to save the fish from extinction. Some species of shark are now endangered.

Environmentalists have campaigned to stop "finning," when fishermen catch sharks and cut off their fins before throwing the carcasses back into the sea. The practice is blamed for preventing an accurate picture of shark numbers.

Well, good for you Yao Ming! I may not be an environmentalists but as a responsible consumer, I choose not to eat them, and its not only fins I'm talking about here. Its animals like whale, abalone, sea horse, sea cucumbers, tiger, bats and other exotic animals/sea creatures. Its not to say I've never eaten shark fins or sea cucumbers (would be a lie). In fact was slurping on them when I was young and know no better.

What changed my mind was also not due to the latest documentary film by Rob Steward; Sharkwater, which is by the way a GREAT documentary (a must see!) in line with Sicko, 9/11 by Michael Moore, The March of the Penguins by Luc Jacquet and Earth by Alastair Fothergill. It was due to the fact that its expensive, tasteless and has no health benefits at all. Shark meat and fins by the way has very high mercury levels (thanks to us humans), much like the tuna, swordfish and other large predator fishes in the sea. So by eating them we are poisoning ourselves.

The very basic of economics teach us that with more demand, and dwindling supply drives up the prices. And besides I think only its only the Chinese (older and may be middle aged?) who likes to show off how wealthy and "well versed" they are are the ones eating shark fins any ways. And I really loathe show offs. But I believe that the new generation of Chinese- like Yao Ming, are well informed, educated and responsible enough to make their own choice.

By the way, why are we saving elephants, tigers, polar bears, pandas, sea turtles etc and not sharks? Did you know that elephants, AIDS, famine and accidents kill more humans than sharks? And the other thing; HOW COME DON'T HAVE THIS MOVIE SHARKWATER IN MALAYSIA? To many powerful shark fin eaters there ar?

PS: If anyone of you would like to sign a petition to Save The Sharks, please click on the title of this article. Thank you


Daddy Forever said...

Shark fin soup is expensive. It's a good thing I never I acquired the taste for it.

Thanis said...

Pork gelatin? When will they ever make the halal version of shark fin? :P

And I agree - I never liked the idea of shark fins - they were never that tasty in the first place.