As Global Appetite for Shark Fin Wanes, China Surges

China's taste for shark's fin going through a generation divide
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2011 7:20 PM CDT
A bowl of shark fin soup is shown for a photograph at Far East Cafe in Chinatown in San Francisco, Calif., Thursday, May 5, 2011.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – There's a growing consciousness about the 73 million sharks killed each year to feed a global hunger for shark’s fin soup, but try telling that to China, writes Juliet Eilperin in a book excerpt in the Washington Post. For centuries, being able to afford the delicacy was a sign of prosperity—and with many Chinese coming into a time of just that, many are worried the booming country’s demand for shark’s fin will go too far. But along with slamming the distasteful process of ‘finning,’ critics are also beginning to notice how absolutely flavorless the fins themselves really are.

After an arduous soaking and boiling process, Eilperin writes that the fins are “finally boiled for six to eight hours with chicken stock and Chinese ham to add flavor because there’s no taste otherwise.” In Hong Kong, demand is on the wane, but rural China is just getting started—shark’s fin soup has become a staple at middle-class weddings or business lunches. “I hope we’re getting to a tipping point,” says one activist. But, “we’ve still got a way to go.”

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