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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shark Fin

I eat shark fin soup. In fact I also eat shark meat. There I said it! But unlike Sumiko Tan, I don't think I will be getting any flaming from netizens since 1) I am no celebrity writer or blogger and 2) not that many people read my weird all over the place posts anyway.
Shark Fin soup at Huat Kee Teochew Restaurant
 But back to the shark fin. I must admit I haven't watch any of those fin cutting, smash the dolphins, club the cows videos so far. In fact, I deliberately avoid seeing such videos so that I can continue to have my shark fin and beef without feeling guilty. But yes, I am fully aware of the debate raging on about the extinction of sharks, the consequential collapse of the food chain in the sea, the cruelty of the fishermen blah blah blah
Shark Meat
So while I will order a nice beef steak for dinner or lunch, I have not gone out of my way to order shark fin soup. Me being a kiamseap, I will not pay exorbitance prices for some tasteless strands of hair like thingy. Most time that I have it, it is on the set menu at some dinners that I am a guest of. But if it is placed before me, I will eat it and if there is second helpings, I will eat that as well. 

So what does that make me?  The way I see it, banning shark fin is not going to work. The forbidden fruit always taste nicer. So curbing the supply will simply jack up the demand and the prices and lead to more people exploiting it. Just look at the ban on ivory, tiger parts and rhino horns. Has it worked? If anything, I will suggest that supply be increased. Increase the supply to the point where consumption of shark fin is so common that it is no longer an exotic food for banquets and the shark fin will lose its lustre and hopefully the demand will come down.

And how to increase the supply? How about farming sharks? In this days and age, surely it is possible to captive breed sharks. If they can do it with crocodiles, why not sharks? Let's forget the idea of cruelty to sharks etc by confining them in small quarters. There has to be a compromise somewhere and me think breeding shark, just like those kelongs that are breeding garoupa, salmons, etc are doing the right thing. 

And to all those activists who are hell bend on stopping the trade in shark fin, they should spend their energy on coming up with an alternative instead of telling people what not to do. Engage and do not oppose. Give people a way out rather than forcing the issue onto them. Ultimately, it will definitely be easier for them to achieve their objectives. 

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