While plenty of people have asked why New York restaurants continue to serve bluefin tuna, they’ve largely ignored the similarly problematic inclusion of shark fin soup on menus across the city. But according to the Humane Society, there’s ample reason to pay attention.
The organization told Gothamist that the soup — which is considered a delicacy in China and Hong Kong — is on the menus of 55 NYC restaurants, including Chinatown stalwarts Golden Unicorn, Jing Fong, and Grand Harmony Palace. It’s no longer being served at Shun Lee West after its manager received numerous complaints because, as he said in a statement, “of the horrible way sharks are killed.”
Some 73 million sharks are killed for their fins every year. Their fins are sliced off and the sharks are left to drown or bleed to death, a practice has also led to severe overfishing and an accompanying decline in shark populations across the globe. Worldwide opposition to finning has grown in recent years: Last year, Hawaii became the first state to ban shark fin soup, while the California Legislature recently introduced a bill that would prohibit the sale and possession of shark fins. Even in Hong Kong, attitudes seem to be shifting.
Here in New York, diners can take action by printing out bilingual cards and giving them to restaurants that still serve shark fin soup. Failing sweeping legislation that makes the soup contraband, it’s a start.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 28, 2011