Endangered Sharks Served At US Restaurants
Despite a heart-rending appeal made by PETA to the Michelin CEO, endangered species of shark continue to be served in US restaurants. A recent DNA study, of samples collected from 14 US cities, has revealed that threatened species of shark are still being served as shark fin soup in many American cities. This includes the Scalloped hammerhead sharks too, which are already on the endangered list of the “International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This disturbing piece of news has other aspects as well. Read on to get more disturbed.
The DNA Study
Your bowl of shark fin soup, which you may have bought for a price of upto $100, is not just an innocent shark soup. It may contain a species of shark that is on the verge of extinction, thus, making you as much of a culprit in its fate as the person who caught and sold it. According to the study, several of the endangered of shark species are finding their way onto the menus of various US restaurants, where oblivious diners are enjoying their meal at a very high cost to these poor creatures of the sea. This unprecedented study was conducted on samples gathered from different cities in America. These samples were analyzed at New York's Stony Brook University's Institute for Ocean Conservation Science.
Gathering the Samples
The team that conducted the study with the help of Chicago's Field Museum, took samples from the following American cities - New York; San Francisco; Las Vegas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Atlanta, Georgia; Boston; Chicago; Denver, Colorado; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Houston; Los Angeles; Orlando, Florida; Seattle and Washington. The study analyzed the samples to ascertain the species of shark from which the fins were used to make the shark fin soup. The findings of the study would be shown in a television program soon.
The DNA study shows that some of the shark species that found themselves being served to diners at the restaurants include hammerheads, school sharks, spiny dogfish, and bull and copper sharks. Some of these species are listed as "vulnerable to extinction" while some are already threatened. Explaining this serious situation, Demian Chapman, who was one of the leading scientists of this study, said, "US consumers of shark fin soup cannot be certain of what's in their soup. They could be eating a species that is in serious trouble." A representative of the Pew Environment Group, which supported the study, Liz Karan, said, "This is further proof that shark fin soup here in the United States, not just in Asia, is contributing to the global decline in sharks. Sharks must be protected from overfishing and any international trade in these vulnerable and endangered species must be tightly regulated."
With more than 70 million sharks being killed every year to satisfy people's urge for shark fin soup, the situation is seriously troublesome. This is compounded by the fact that sharks grow at a very slow rate and they take years to reach maturity. As a result of these factors, sharks are facing extreme vulnerability to extinction. Shark fin soup came off the menus in the UK after a severe campaign was led against it. If people do not curb their greed for shark dishes, the animal could face a sudden demise. Therefore, next time you ask for a bowl of shark fin soup, make sure that it doesn't come from a threatened species.