Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shark Soup: a double-edged Chinese tradition

In China, shark fin is highly prized in the markets. With it prepares a soup called "Yuchi", whose recipe dates from the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Previously, this dish was unique to the palate of the emperors, but now is considered a delicacy and medicinal properties.

It is so much demand in Japan, Singapore, Korea and China that are caught each year about 79 million sharks, reports China Daily. And it is in the big Asian country where it is consumed and where there is little awareness of conservation.

Although no precise statistics on how many sharks for China, the president of Wild Aid, Steve Trent, said that the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are the main consumers.

For this reason, the campaign organized by the Administration of Aquatic Wild Flora and Fauna, Ministry of Agriculture and one hundred environmental organizations across the country, was launched in Beijing and is spread through posters and documentaries of the many aquariums the country.

"People in big cities can afford to pay for shark fins, which are quite expensive," Trent said the newspaper "Metro" and added that due to economic growth in China, more and more consumers can afford this dish, so it is necessary to educate the public.

"The shark fin soup is part of Chinese culture and do not expect to change from night to morning," the ecologist added.

However, animal welfare organizations warn that the shark being a predator at the top of the food chain, accumulating a high content of mercury can cause fetal malformation or sexual dysfunction, among other diseases, like Dolphin consumption in Japan.

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