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Horrors of asian shark fin butchery

  1. Feb 25, 2014 #1

    Evo

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    Beware of foul language, so if you don't want to hear it, please do not watch. This is terrible, and it needs to stop.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SAkq6lsnoE



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=388Y1VVBYd8



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajnboDfY1OI
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2014 #2

    Pythagorean

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    http://www.united-academics.org/magazine/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/shark.png [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Feb 25, 2014 #3

    Monique

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    So what can be done to stop it? The shark fin soup that I eat is always vegetarian, I've never come across shark fin products.
     
  5. Feb 25, 2014 #4

    Evo

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    Laws, but more importantly *enforcement* of those laws. The laws that do exist are not enforced.

    Another is for "shark fin" soup to no longer be "cool" which takes a cultural shift, unfortunately, the rate at which the shark population is being destroyed, a cultural shift may not come fast enough.

    Nothing wrong with fake shark fin soup. From what Gordon says, you could substitute cellophane noodles and no one would know.
     
  6. Feb 25, 2014 #5

    lisab

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    This issue has been around a while, but unfortunately it gets little media attention - I guess sharks have lousy PR firms. When I volunteered at a zoo & aquarium, we did our best to educate people about it. Slaughtering the top predator of an ecosystem can have dramatic effects!

    Full disclosure: I can't bring myself to watch the videos, that kind of stuff gets in my head and stays there for a looooong time. It's sickening.
     
  7. Feb 25, 2014 #6
    I used to have a distaste for Gordon Ramsey but the last couple things he put out are changing my mind about him.

    This can be a good place to start to help start humanity down the path to that 'cultural shift' Evo was referring to.
     
  8. Feb 25, 2014 #7

    Chronos

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    It would be a lot less objectionable if they harvested the entire animal. Tossing a definned shark back into the ocean is just plain wrong. What a horrible way to die.
     
  9. Feb 25, 2014 #8

    russ_watters

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    It gets worse. The current law states that the fin has to be "naturally attached to the corresponding carcass". I won't link it here, but if you dare, google "shark fin naturally attached loophole".

    The short of it is that apparently the government of Costa Rica isn't too interested in the spirit of what that phrase means and is allowing the fishermen to be rather loose in their interpretation of just how much of a shark constitutes a "carcass": it's just the spine and enough skin to connect the pectoral fins to it (conveniently, that's enough skin to roll-up the spine and tie it off into a pretty little package).
     
  10. Feb 26, 2014 #9

    Monique

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    Indeed, that sparked my question what should then be done. I've known about it for about 15 years and always checked whether the soup contained fins or not, which it never did. The soup would be expensive with fins. Where exactly it it being consumed? I always thought it was a Chinese thing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  11. Feb 26, 2014 #10

    Evo

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    It's spreading throughout Asia. And apparently becoming more popular in the western world. It used to be limited to the upper class, but as the documentary shows, has become widespread, and the amount of sharks butchered in this fashion is staggering.
     
  12. Feb 26, 2014 #11

    Evo

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    Omg.
     
  13. Feb 26, 2014 #12
    The chinese middle class is growing and they want to live like the older rich. As long as the chinese middle class keeps growing then I dont see an end because as long as there is a demand there will be slaughter.
     
  14. Feb 26, 2014 #13
    Most Sharks are pretty well endangered. The Chinese care little for sustainability. I agree it needs to be stopped. Animals for meat will always be around but as stewards of the earth we have the ability and obligation to make it as comfortable and respectful as possible.
     
  15. Feb 26, 2014 #14
    Laws shmaws, poor people all over the world do not and will not ever care about laws, even if they're enforced, if harvesting shark fins gives them income and food on their table, whether they have to sell fins legally or on a black market. The people finning sharks many times are very poor. They throw the rest of the carcass back into the water because the added weight of 100 sharks would increase the need to consume fuel from all of the added weight. No one wants the meat when shark fins can sell for several hundred dollars a kilo. The only way to combat it is to fight a deeply ingrained culture in Asia. Good luck with that. I have no doubt many species of fish/whales/sharks are going to go extinct in my lifetime. Hopefully I'll be dead before the major consequences of these actions start arising. The other option could be nursery/farming type operations to raise sharks for finning. Whether that is even possible or not, I have no clue. At least it would prevent extinction. You could then flood the market with mass produced shark fins to depress global prices of shark fins (in theory) which would naturally deter people from spending the effort to harvest shark fins from the wild. You're fighting a losing battle when you say no one should eat shark fin soup. You simply come off as an arrogant Westerner that thinks they know everything and sound like an ethnocentric tool. You aren't going to convince Asian people to stop eating shark fin soup by nagging. Sustainability is a very low priority in many other countries.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  16. Feb 26, 2014 #15

    StatGuy2000

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    Your post above suggests that Asian cultures are somehow incapable of cultural change or shifts in culture, which is far from reality.

    It is indeed true that the growth of the middle class in China and other Asian countries and their to emulate the practices of their wealthier citizens have fed the popularity of items like shark fin soup and bird's nest soup, which has contribued to the reduced populations of numerous animal species. However, there are also growing numbers of younger Asians who, through exposure to the West and greater awareness of environmental issues, are increasingly challenging those particular traditions.

    The key to changing perceptions within Asian countries is for Asian activists to build a grassroots movement to combat the trafficking in animal parts such as these, as well as work with the leadership of the various Asian countries to step up enforcement of laws prohibiting the trading of such animal parts. It is also critically important for any such efforts to provide alternatives for the local fishermen in various countries from harvesting in shark fins, in much the same way that the Thai government had worked closely with villagers to provide an alternative to the cultivation of opium poppies. Only through a combined effort such as these can a real difference be made, but I am optimistic enough to think that this is doable.
     
  17. Feb 26, 2014 #16
    a

    I'm not saying Asian cultures are incapable of change, I'm just saying that they simply don't want to. Why should they listen to a Westerner? Younger Chinese don't accept the practice of shark fin soup as much as older generations do, but many younger Chinese still do, and a grand, lavish wedding is not complete without shark fin soup to show off how much money you have. It will take at least 2 or 3 generations as well as substantial public service announcements to get people over there to change. By then it will be too late.

    There's simply too much corruption in the developing and 2nd world to get governments to rapidly change. There's always going to be a black market for highly endangered animal parts. It will take too long to get 6+ billion on the people on the planet, all of their governments, and enforcement to change while simultaneously keeping corruption out of the equation.


    You are much more optimistic than me on outlook/possibilities. I hope to be dead in around 40 years, which may only be a few years after most species of shark, tuna, whales, wild salmon, and a dozen other species of fish have been permanently killed off. Or just start preserving the DNA of all species left on the planet and start cloning them after their wild stocks become virtually 0.
     
  18. Feb 26, 2014 #17
    The timescale matters as well. If the time scale for culture to change is greater than the timescale for the species to become extinct then the timescale for culture to change is irrelevant.
     
  19. Feb 26, 2014 #18

    russ_watters

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    True. People do tend to forget that ideas like animal welfare are actually luxuries that require money to afford.
     
  20. Feb 26, 2014 #19
    I find it hard to believe that cutting off a sharks fin is the only opportunity for these poor workers.
     
  21. Feb 26, 2014 #20

    StatGuy2000

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    If we follow your own logic strictly as stated above, then Western nations like the US and Britain would have continued to engage in the transatlantic slave trade -- and Western cultures are certainly not immune to resistance to change traditions either. So your pessimism above is both unwarranted and even a little condescending.

    It's not listening to lectures from Westerners, per se, that matter. It's about being exposed to and being influenced by other, new ideas as Asian countries like China have opened themselves up to the rest of the world in terms of trade, travel, communications, etc. Within that timeframe, practices that were acceptable are being challenged on a variety of areas, including the use of animal products, whether they be shark fin soup, bird's nest soup, ivory, etc.

    Of course, waiting for cultures to change is not in itself sufficient to prevent overfishing, poaching, etc. that could lead to extinctions. This is where a worldwide effort to enforce laws, work with local peoples to provide alternatives to poaching, trade sanctions, etc. can take into effect. And I feel that my optimism is not unwarranted or naive, because species have been saved/rescued from extinction in the past, and I see no reason to believe it cannot happen again.
     
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