Gordon Ramsay: Shark Bait

I was so excited that BBC America decided to air Gordon Ramsay: Shark Bait. I’d read about it on Twitter and was curious to see what he found out. The special aired as part of “Hugh’s Fish Fight” and looked into the Chinese delicacy shark fin soup.

Let me just say wow. What I learned in the first half hour blew my mind. The most shocking piece of information: when they cut the fins off the shark, they throw the body back, sometimes when it is still alive. Aaaaand, they take fins from any kind of shark–endangered or not.

For example, Gordon found a great white shark fin and a variety of others that cost up to 200 pounds. Apparently, the meat of the shark isn’t worth much, which makes keeping just the fins even more appealing. For a culture that is known for using virtually all parts of an animal, I’m surprised they haven’t found ways to use the rest of the shark.

Now, I’ve heard of shark fin soup, but never in a million years did it occur to me that they’d get the fins that way. Kind of naive I know, but I guess I’d always assumed they raised them, or at the very least took them off the sharks when they were dead. It’s utterly ridiculous to “harvest” sharks just for their fins, not to mention cruel.

As of 2010, fishermen had caught around 70 million, with some species dropping by as much 90 percent over the last 10 years. And, it is insane that if this practice keeps up, sharks will be extinct by the end of the century. Why? Because they keep any size, including babies that haven’t reached maturity and are therefore unable to reproduce. If we lose the shark population, the rest of the ocean’s ecosystem will break down and who knows what other kinds of problems that’ll cause.

When Gordon tried to confront people who worked in the business, no one wanted to talk to him. One lady even poured gasoline off a rooftop where he could see hundreds of fins drying on racks. Chinese tradition or not, I hope after people saw this, they were just as appalled as I was and tried to put a stop to the practice, or at the very least strengthen the laws and penalties that already exist.

If you want to check out the video, go here: http://youtu.be/BiYiUpGYDxI, but I must warn you, watch at your own risk: it’s not for the faint of heart.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. marj jensen in Shreveport, Louisiana
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:53:00

    just saw your show Shark Bait – congratulations on such a worthwhile effort. Please keep us (me) posted on results


    • conversebear
      Aug 14, 2011 @ 13:59:46

      Hi Marj!
      I’m glad you found the post interesting. I’ve been looking into what’s happened since the show, but I’m not able to find much since it happened in the London. What I do know is the four largest Chinese restaurants still are not serving shark fin soup, and more members of the community are trying to educate people about how destructive it is. Also, the program was part of a larger campaign, Hugh’s Fish Fight, that looked at the wasteful practices of fishing industries, I think they’ve taken on the efforts to help spread the word all over the EU. If you’re interested in finding out more you can check it out at http://www.fishfight.net/.
      If I learn anything new, I’ll let you know! Thanks again for the comment!


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