This announcement comes after Singapore’s largest supermarket chain, Fairprice, announced that it will withdraw all sales of shark’s fin products by end of March this year due to a public uproar after an insensitive message was posted by one of NTUC Fairprice’s seafood supplier Thern Da Seafood.
The supplier had posted on Facebook on 17 Nov 2011 at 12.14am, “Screw the divers! Shark’s fin and Mola Mola will also be launched at all NTUC Fairprice outlets during CNY 2012! Exact date for launching will be out soon!”
Sharks fin, which is virtually tasteless, is priced in Chinese culinary as a rare and privileged food. It is lauded by the Chinese that sharks fin helps to boost sexual potency, improve skin quality and the body’s “qi” or energy. As it is rare and expensive, it symbolises wealth and prestige and is often served to guests in banquets to show honour and respect for guests.
Environmentalists have long criticised shark finning contributing to the decline of certain shark species. There is controversy in this area as researches have shown that only a small proportion of the shark species are in endangered and sharks are captured for reasons other than shark finning.
Nevertheless, the removal of sharks fin from the shelves of supermarket chains should be celebrated. The nutritional value of sharks fin has been overrated (see article here) and it is inhumane to deprive these great sea creatures of their fins for mere satisfaction of human’s taste buds and ego (one suspect it is more of the latter).
The preparation of the sharks fin may involve the use of hydrogen peroxide which is a bleaching agent, and its vitamin content is much less than that of typical vegetable soup, containing almost no vitamin A.
If consumed in extremely large quantities, shark fin soup may cause sterility in men due to mercury content. The FDA recommends pregnant women and young children avoid eating shark fins.
One would be much wiser to choose healthy vegetarian soups. View loads of good recipes at Savvyvegetarian.