South Africa shares a story with the mysterious creatures of the blue ocean, especially when it comes to sharks. Sharks and the South African coastline are notorious and spoken about all over the globe. Another human to shark relationship is being spoken about worldwide. It is a story with less hope and more tragedy. It is the story of shark fin soup and the cultural traditions which fuel its market demands.
The shark fin soup relationship has recently been explored by Chef Gordon Ramsay. After gaining audiences praise and attention from his shows such as Hell’s Kitchen and Master Chef, Chef Ramsay explores shark fin soup. His October 2012 show, “Gordon Ramsay: Shark Bait” highlighted the truths behind the shark fin industry. As a food lover and critic Chef Ramsay wanted to know why the soup was desired?
Gordon Ramsay was just the man to investigate shark fin soup because he approached it as a Chef. He wanted to know what went into making it, how was it sourced, and what kept customers loyal to the meal? After trying the soup, he was shocked because the fin itself has no taste. What carries the meal is the broth and other meat substances could replace the fin and still have the taste consumers want.
After tasting the soup, his experience turned personal and a side of Ramsay his fans have not yet seen, came out. Ramsay got angry and emotional. What he witnessed broke him down. The current fishing practices exposed by Ramsay are horrific. On the show viewers are able to watch real footage of a fishing crew cutting the fins off of living sharks. The painful footage shows the inhumane methods and indecent practices of wasting a sharks life. So much of the shark is wasted when just the fin is taken. The regulations at sea and at port are not enforced strictly enough. The market demand in Asia is pushing shark species into harmful population numbers. Certain shark species take a long time to reproduce and simply cannot keep up with populating their species. The extinction of shark species is fast approaching and it is due to human consumption patterns.
The show is something people all around the globe should watch. It is informative and real. The point Ramsay gets across is it makes you think. It makes you think about what you consume and the lengths people go to make sure you can have what you want.
Speak Up for Blue is an organization which aims to bring awareness and solutions to the public. On the site you can find youtube links of the show. Let Chef Ramsay show you the truth about the shark finning industry and it may even influence you to become involved in banning shark fin soup from restaurant menus.