DNA Reveals Origins of Shark Fin Soup
By LiveScience Staff
posted: 01 December 2009 02:56 pm ET
Every year, millions of shark fins are sold at Chinese markets to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup, a dish considered a delicacy, but it has been impossible to pinpoint which sharks from which regions are most threatened by this trade.
Now DNA research has traced shark fins from the burgeoning Hong Kong market all the way back to the sharks’ geographic origin.
The scientists found that in some cases fins from scalloped hammerhead sharks came from endangered populations thousands of miles away.
The findings highlight the need to better protect these sharks from international trade, the researchers say. About 73 million sharks are killed for this trade each year, of which 1-3 million are hammerheads, according to Ellen Pikitch a professor of marine science at Stony Brook University in New York. These sharks are particularly prized for their large fin size, and just 1 kg (2.2 lbs) can sell for about $120.
“This trade has operated for years and years under the cover of darkness,” Demian Chapman, a researcher at the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, said in a statement. “Our work shows that the scalloped hammerhead fin trade is sourced from all over the globe and so must be globally tracked and managed.”
See also here.
Shark fin soup and Hong Kong: here.
The soup is culturally important to the Chinese, however, and curbing its popularity will be a tall order. But who better to fill such a tall order than the 7-foot-6 NBA star and Chinese native Yao Ming? The Houston Rockets center is also owner of his hometown Shanghai Sharks, and has partnered with the U.S. conservation group WildAid to produce a TV commercial urging wealthy Chinese to stop eating shark-fin soup. “We have species that need our attention and protection,” Yao said at a press conference announcing the ad campaign. “They are endangered by excessive hunting by humans and deprived of habitats due to human greed”: here.
Paleontologist Launches Fossil Shark Hunt; ‘What Is Primitive About Living Sharks?’ Here.
December 2009. Populations of numerous migratory fish species in the North Atlantic have declined by more than 95 percent, threatening not only food supplies and economic systems, but also the way humans perceive the health of the planet’s ecosystems, according to new research: here.
EU fishing rules are failing to protect stocks and the communities that depend on them, environmental group the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned: here.
Virgin Shark Birth Pups Living Long, Healthy Lives: here.
Shark tagging project launched off Scotland: here.