Shark-free weddings are sophisticated and environmentally conscious and, by serving a suitable alternative to shark fin soup, you can both respect your guests and our oceans.
Shark Finning is cruel, wasteful and unsustainable
When sharks are ‘finned’, the shark is pulled onto the boat, its fins are sliced off and its body is thrown back into the ocean. Although incredibly wasteful, the fishermen do this because the fins are the most valuable part of the shark and, by only storing the fins, the fishermen can catch many more sharks than if they had to store the bodies on board too – this is partly why the practice of shark-finning is so environmentally unsustainable.
Many people also condemn shark-finning because it is cruel. The sharks are usually still alive when thrown back overboard. They are unable to breathe because, without their fins, they cannot swim and pass water over their gills so, instead, they sink to the sea bed where they slowly suffocate.
Shark fin soup: All symbol, no substance.
Traditionally, only emperors and the wealthy elite ate shark fin soup. Today, however, shark fin is a widely affordable luxury, thanks to the rising mass affluence in China and the global growth of industrialized fishing methods. Now, shark fin soup is a standard feature of Chinese banqueting menus and serving it is seen as a symbol of wealth and of respect for guests.
Interestingly, the shark fins have no taste and no nutritional or medicinal value on their own. All of the soup’s taste and goodness comes from the stock, which is normally made from chicken. The fins are added partly to give texture but mainly as a status symbol – and status is no reason to fish a species to extinction.
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For more information, please visit the FAQs on the HK Shark Foundation’s website.
Image credits: Alex Hofford/Paul Hilton