Liquid Viagra to some, ecological insanity to others, shark fin soup has long endured as a controversial cultural touchstone, but it may go the way of whaling. The Independent reports that global opposition to shark finning—the procedure that cuts the fins off a shark and leaves it to die in the ocean—has reached a fever pitch, with environmental groups like New York City's own Shark Savers increasing their influence to countries like Canada and Australia. A Chinese legislator even proposed anti-finning legislation earlier this month but the bill is expected to die, given that 95% of the world's shark fins are consumed there.
Earlier this month, the Times profiled California's own proposed bill banning the sale and possession of shark fins. While many point to the sheer decimation of the world's shark population—down 90% as up to 73 million sharks a year are killed for the delicacy—as reason enough for the law, traditionalists and politicians like San Francisco mayoral candidate Senator Leland Yee protest that "its been in our culture for thousands of years."
A MenuPages.com search of New York City yielded 42 restaurants that have "shark fin soup" on the menu. We contacted Congee Village, the lauded Cantonese restaurant in the LES, and they initially denied selling the dish, despite their menu showing otherwise. After some pressing, the manager said they in fact sell it "when the customer wants it, not tourists or Americans" and that it doesn't sell "any better than anything else" on the menu. He said a ban on shark fins in New York City "wouldn't be a big deal, we'd just follow the law."
Shark fins are currently banned in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Guam. If Bloomberg can ban the trans fat in our chili fries and the cigarettes in our parks, why not the fins floating in our soup? Do it for The New York Sharks.