photo: Y-Not? via flickr
TreeHugger has covered the plight of sharks being hunted to extinction just for their fins on a number of occasions. Most of the time the news is grim, but a new piece by Reuters is, for once, encouraging. There's a good summary of the state of the shark fin trade in the original article, but here's the payoff regarding diminished demand for shark fin soup:
Tastes have changed along with awareness for young Asians.
Shang-kuan Liang-chi, a National Taiwan University student who has tried the crunchy jelly-like dish twice at formal events, prefers other food and avoids a shark fin restaurant near campus. "University students never go in there," he said.
Even chefs are hoping to turn the tide. At Singapore's Annual Chefs' Association dinner, shark fin traditionally served at the occasion was taken off the menu.
"It is much harder to stop serving shark's fin in our restaurants as the consumers still demand it. However, in our personal capacity, we can make a stand," said Otto Weibel, a food manager at one of Singapore's top hotels.
Shark fin sellers say their sales have also been tested by the economy. With Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong in recession, the restaurant business is flagging. Older consumers would buy more in better times, they say.
"If people are eating it, it's a major event," said Shen Lee-ching, a Taipei vendor of 30 years who sells dried fins by the bag for about $90 apiece. Some bags of dried, chopped fin have sat for years on her shelves.
I guess the big question is whether demand will stay down in better economic times, but for now sharks can get a respite.