Shark Fin Soup is not an Asian issue; it is a human issue

Posted on March 1, 2011
Written by: Shark Savers

Sue_Chen-_650.jpgI’ve had Shark Fin soup – many times in fact. I don’t remember the first time, but I do remember the last. What I do remember is that it was part of a massive meal and usually important event or gathering. I also remember people making a big deal of the soup, but not really enjoying it. Rather, it was the many courses that followed that people devoured and commented on the unique flavors and tasty textures.

So, for most of my life, Shark Fin Soup was that tasteless soup that was served at an event. On my very first post certification dive, I saw a shark! It was a brief encounter as she quickly swam away, but I was transformed by her beauty, grace and fragility.

I learned that my sighting was very lucky – especially for beginner. Shark encounters were rare. Sharks were quickly becoming extinct. Over the soup – the soup that never tasted very good. I felt a sickness in my stomach that I had never felt before. I was horrified and ashamed. I felt a tremendous panic that was only eased by making this my mission – now. I need to do all I can to stop this senseless massacre of our sharks. I also knew that it is not the intention of my fellow Asians to destroy the shark population. They just need to know the facts.

Recently, I read comments from Senator Leland Yee who is opposing Bill 376 that would make illegal to possess, sell…shark fin in California. He said this bill is “an unfair attack on the Asian culture and cuisine.” His comments were an attack on Asians.

Preserving sharks and keeping their populations healthy is in fact a powerful support of Asian culture and cuisine. Asian cuisine is rich in seafood…so many species of fish, scallops, kelp, crab.... I would even say that Asians are the most creative and diverse in their beloved delights from the ocean. If you decimate the shark population, much of the seafood that we love – our Asian cuisine and culture is certainly threatened.

I have a Chinese palette and stomach and frankly, Shark Fin soup doesn’t even taste good. The Asian palette knows better and prefers better than this tasteless soup. We have tremendous honor in our culture to do what is right, keep our lives and planet in balance and make the world a better place for our children. So, how is preserving a species from extinction an insult to the Asian culture. Senator Leland Yee is using the Asian platform in a cowardly way. Please, Mr. Yee, we Asians know better. Please, Mr. Yee, we Asians want to do the right thing. So, please Mr. Yee, stop lying about the facts and using the Asian platform to serve your own personal agenda. This is not an Asian issue, this is a human issue.