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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Shark Fin Soup: It’s Beyond Tasteless

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Keith Goetzman, environment, wildlife, oceans, marine biology, fishing, Costa Rica, Goldman Environmental Prize, SF Public Press,

Randall Arauz

A shark without a dorsal fin is like … well, a dead shark. Sharks whose fins have been lopped off simply don’t survive, and yet fishermen relentlessly perform these brutal amputations in order to feed the voracious market for shark-fin soup. Costa Rican marine biologist-turned-activist Randall Arauz recently won the Goldman Environmental Prize for his work campaigning against finning, as it’s called, which has reduced shark populations worldwide by 90 percent over the last 50 years.

Reporter Erica Gies at SF Public Press asked Arauz what this means:

Who eats shark-fin soup? Traditionally, notes SF Public Press, it’s been wealthy Chinese diners, but the taste for it has spread to the Chinese middle class and expatriate communities. Shark fin is also used in some vitamin supplements and makeup.

A video about Arauz’s work held a key position at the Goldman prize ceremony in San Francisco on April 19. On the Costa Rican Conservation Network’s blog, correspondent Andy Bymer reports, “Because of the sensitive nature of shark finning and the powerful images depicted in the video, organizers decided to end the ceremony with this environmental exclamation point.” Here it is:

Sources: Goldman Environmental Prize, SF Public Press, Costa Rican Conservation Network’s Blog

Image by Will Parrinello, courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize.