Fish Are Friends, Not Food

Opinions Editor

Lately, the fancy Asian banquets my family likes to drag me to have felt different. The notoriously loud table talk and the suspiciously off-white cloth napkins were still there, but there was definitely something lacking. When I read on the news that California recently banned the sale, trade and possession of shark fins, I had my finger on the missing element.
I’ll admit that I think shark fin soup is delicious. And as a person of Chinese descent, I recognize it as just another part of my culture. Yet, once I found out that sharks are caught, get their fins cut off and are thrown back into the ocean—some still alive—giving up shark fin soup seemed a small sacrifice.
Sharks are endangered because of hunting, and“finning” contributes to their decline in numbers as well. The main goal of the ban is to protect sharks and their ecosystems because, as predators, sharks play an important role in maintaining species diversity.
So, I’m glad the Chinese community is taking one for the team. However, I also realized the obvious: Finning is not the only reason why the shark population is in danger. Sharks are also killed for other products, like their cartilage and oil.
If we’re really concerned about protecting sharks, it would make sense to ban all shark products.
The Bahamas has already taken this step. Honestly, if people of Chinese culture have to stop eating a traditional dish, then tourists should stop buying shark-skin purses and people who want to maintain that “summer glow” should stop using tanning lotion containing shark oil. It’s only fair.