Fish Wing Soup

Titus Tsai, Honorable Mention
4th Grade

“Fish wing soup” is a popular dish. In English, it is known as shark fin soup. Even though sharks have been top predators for millions of years, they are now a predator-turned-prey species. Most people ignore how many sharks are killed each second in order to feed the wealthy mouths that hunger for the delicacy. Many restaurants still serve shark fin soup to customers despite worldwide bans.

Shark fin soup is just a bowl of tasteless soup. People claim that they would be better without sharks, as sharks kill people, as an excuse to serve the soup.  Many people believe that shark fin soup has healing powers, but in fact shark fin is high in mercury. Shark fins are sold up to $400 per pound, a fortune for fishermen. Shark fin soup is part of the “Big Four” which is a set of dishes that is served at weddings and other special celebrations. Shark fin soup was created since the Sung Dynasty and has remained a well known delicacy. Shark fin is a symbol of power and a victory over sharks.  Shark fin soup is used to welcome guests. Many people are eager to eat the dish and willing to pay for the high price. Shark fin soup is a tradition.

Sharks’ numbers have decreased dramatically by a cruel process of Finning in which the shark’s fins are cut off. Ecosystems will go off balance if sharks die off since sharks are the top predators of most oceanic ecosystems. It is a common belief that shark fin soup has magical healing powers.  An estimated ten million sharks die a year, which is approximately 3 sharks per second. Ninety four percent of fancy restaurants still serve shark fin soup even after official banquets stopped serving the delicacy.  Sharks have slow growth and reproduce slowly which makes the sharks’ population ever more fragile.

Despite recent research which states that a shark is worth more alive than dead, the fin itself fetches such a high price that lots of people consider it is worth more than the whole shark dead or alive. Finned sharks are sometimes believed to live after their finless bodies are thrown back into the water, but the sharks die in painful ways. Finned sharks die of suffocation, blood loss, or eaten alive by other animals.

Despite the high price shark fin soup costs, many people continue to eat the delicacy, endangering sharks that are killed for them. Sharks are accused to be cold-blooded killers, but we actually kill three sharks every second and sharks only kill a total of about 20 humans a year.

To me, shark fin soup is a waste of energy and resources. I’ve heard about this issue in many places including at school, at home, and diners. I believe that the only way to entirely stop shark Finning is to convince the people that eat shark fin soup that the flavor really doesn’t come from the fin and the fin has no medical benefits.