I am contacting you regarding your decision to serve shark fin soup.
I understand and appreciate that shark fin soup has long been a part of the Asian culture, however, there are many implications for consuming this dish for humans and sharks alike.
There are few health benefits from consuming shark fins, however, studies have shown that consuming shark products can contribute to the intake of mercury in a person’s diet. Mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, as well as on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes. It is particularly dangerous for children and pregnant women to consume
(World Health Organisation fact sheet detailing Mercury’s effect on humans http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs361/en/)
Methods often employed in collecting shark fins involve removing the fins and dumping the body back into the ocean while the shark is still alive. An inhumane practise that ultimately results in the death of the shark, either through asphyxiation, blood loss or by being eaten alive.
According to the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, 32 percent of open ocean sharks are now threatened with extinction. This is the result of overfishing due to the high demand for shark fin soup, meat and cartilage products. Sharks are particularly sensitive to overfishing due to their late maturity, low birthing rates and long pregnancy periods. Estimates suggest a total annual mortality of 100 million sharks killed in 2000 and about 97 million sharks in 2010, with a total range between 63 and 273 million per year. A number that is far from sustainable.
I ask that in light of this information you remove shark fin soup from your menu and replace it with a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. If you require clarification or any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.