2017-07-13 / Letters

Shark meat

I was reading Ela Lindsay’s review of the Golden Panda Buffet and I was stopped in my tracks. In her list of soups offered she included shark fin. While I have since learned that the word “imitation” was accidentally omitted, meaning no actual shark fin is used to make the soup, the letter expressing my outrage had already been written. Since shark population reduction is such an important global issue, I thought I’d share the letter anyway.

Why my outrage over shark-fin soup? Here’s a quick overview:

Sharks are the ocean’s top predator. Their eating of their own aged and their population control of lower species are part of a delicate balance.

It is estimated that 100- to 200- million sharks annually are killed for their fins alone. This practice is mainly for supplying shark fins for the so-called delicacy known as shark-fin soup.

Eleven species of shark have been virtually eliminated by shark finning.

The significant decline in sharks has resulted in ecological unbalance. One example is coral reefs, which thrive with sharks present but are less able to survive warming events without them.

No coral at bottom of the food chain equals no food chain, which means ultimately, no you.

On a recipe note, the sharks’ fins are removed and the dying sharks are thrown back into the water to die; no other part of the shark is used.

Over 200 organizations, NGOs and businesses have called on Congress to pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act. They include Oceana, the American Sportfishing Association, Discovery Channel, Sea World, EarthJustice, Defenders of Wildlife and the League of Conservation Voters.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Food Watch is a guide for restaurants (and everyone else) that lists which fish can be served sustainably.

Steve Ochs
Simi Valley

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