By Erik Crouch
Shark Fin soup via @avlxyz http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/96718000/
This has been a bad year for shark fin soup. In July, China announced that it would prohibit the dish at all state banquets, and American states New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and several others have banned its import from China.
Now, following a series of anti-shark-fin protests in Shanghai on December 9, a survey reveals that an increasing percentage of luxury hotels are refusing to serve the dish.
Shark fin soup has been around since the Ming Dynasty, and was hailed as a meal that cleared the skin, prevented disease, and increased sexual performance. Unfortunately, the Ming weren’t exactly spot on: the high levels of mercury in shark fin soup may cause male sterility and its concentrations of neurotoxins may also cause Alzheimer’s and Lou Gerhig’s disease. Anti-mercury-poisoning advocates (i.e. most people) have been finding Shark Fin soup harder and harder to justify as a delicacy, and the unconverted would do well to watch Yao Ming’s commercial from 2010.