photo via bfeedme.com
Being a muckraking celebrity chef can be dangerous to your health. Just ask Brit Gordon Ramsay, who was showered with gasoline and held at gunpoint after he confronted a gang trafficking in illegal shark fins in Costa Rica. The segment was intended for his new program Big Fish Fight, but ended with Ramsay begin told by local authorities to flee the country for his own safety.Ramsay told Britain's Daily Mail:
"It's a multibillion-dollar industry, completely unregulated. We traced some of the biggest culprits to Costa Rica. These gangs operate from places like forts, with barbed-wire and gun towers.
"At one, I managed to shake off the people keeping us away, ran up some stairs to a rooftop and looked down to see thousands of fins, drying on rooftops for as far as the eye could see. When I got back downstairs, they tipped a barrel of petrol over me.
"Back at the wharf, there were people pointing rifles at us to stop us filming. A van pulled up and these seedy characters made us stand against a wall. The police came and advised us to leave the country. They said, 'If you set one foot in there, they'll shoot you.'"
In December, during the lame duck session, the Senate joined the House to protect sharks by banning shark fining. The "Shark Conservation Act" prevents vessels from coming back to land with only fins and with no sharks attached to them. No word yet if President Obama will sign the bill.
The taste for shark fins is souring in many placers across the globe. Besides action in the US, Japanese youth are reported to be turning against shark fin soup. Same can be said in China, where basketball star Yao Ming and others have helped to raise awareness.