Sky City has found itself all at sea after landing in hot water at its Auckland Sky City Casino. After reading this sentence, the puns plenty will make sense when you understand where we are going with this. Here are the facts about shark fin soup at Auckland Sky City Casino.
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What is shark finning?
It is a cruel practice of cutting off a live shark’s fins and throwing the rest of the animal back into the sea, where it dies a slow and painful death. The fins are used in Hong Kong and China, and by Chinese communities in other places of the world, as the key ingredient in shark fin soup.
What’s shark-fin soup?
This glutinous soup is a traditional Chinese dish dating back more than 1,000 years. It was once a rare delicacy consumed only by the Chinese aristocracy. Today, it played an important role as an indicator of social standing. The fibers take on a consistency similar to noodles, but they have no taste or nutritional value, so chicken stock or something similar is added to improve the flavor.
SkyCity Casino has Shark Fin Soup on Menu
Shark Fin Soup At Auckland SkyCity Casino has been selling at its Jade Dragon restaurant. Many have pushed the casino to review this as Shark fishing is high on the agenda for activists and the general public alike because of dwindling shark numbers. The Government has taken serious consideration of the issue by saying that it wanted to stamp out the selling of meals containing sharks after over forty-five thousand people signed a petition.
They look like they could be creating a National Plan of Action for Sharks Shark Fin on the Menu. The casino says that shark fin is not on the menu, but whilst the English menu does not include shark fin, it is still found in the Chinese version.
Controversy Spiked up on Shark Fin Soup
A SkyCity spokesperson said on the issue: “My understanding is it is not on the menu. Shark fin was never on the menu, not since I joined SkyCity in April last year. My understanding is it is off the menu but you can order. “I don’t read Cantonese, but it is my understanding it is not on the menu.” After it was clearly shown that shark fin is on the menu, the spokesperson says the fin was from a sustainably sourced product and would remain on the Chinese New Year menu.
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Shark Fin-Based Dishes a Hot Topic
SkyCity has really been high on the media agenda recently for many decisions they have made. This recent decision will be high on everyone’s agenda; as shark fin-based foods have become a hot topic in New Zealand. Even a Chinese MP has stepped in to say people need to rethink their decisions to eat Sharkfin.
What the problem is?
In the past 20 years, the demand for shark fin soup has sky-rocketed. It is still a sign of privilege and social rank. A bowl of soup can cost up to US$100. The explosive growth in the Chinese economy means that hundreds of millions of people can now afford this luxury. Many consider it a sign of status at important events such as weddings, birthdays, business banquets, and during Chinese New Year celebrations.
Shark-fin soup is also popular in traditional Chinese medicine. Despite research saying that it contains so much mercury and other toxins, it is barely fit for human consumption; as many as 73 million sharks are killed for shark-fin soup every year. It is an indiscriminate slaughter that is pushing this and many other species to the brink of extinction.
Why should we care?
Many people are afraid of sharks and they are not much concerned about whether they survive or not. But, ecologically, as top predators, their disappearance will surely disbalance entire ocean ecosystems. Economically, they are worth more alive than dead; unlike the short-lived profits of shark finning, shark diving has become a sustainable, multi-million-pound business.
Scientifically also medical researchers want to learn how shark wounds heal so quickly. How they seem to be resistant to cancer. Spiritually, an ocean without sharks is unthinkable.
Can we protect sharks?
The UN developed the International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks. But no country has to compulsorily participate and progress is quite slow. Other than that, shark law differs greatly between states; providing anything from zero (Hong Kong) to weak to full protection (the Bahamas).
The US Shark Conservation Act 2010 requires that all sharks (except smooth dogfish) be brought ashore with their fins intact. Many people believe this is the only way to secure an enforceable ban on shark finning. Enabling the collection of species-specific management data. The EU approved similar legislation in 2013, and other countries are following suit. Trade-in a number of shark species is a ban or it falls under the ambit of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
What else can be done?
It is critical to reduce demand, by changing attitudes. There are encouraging signs that shark fin soup consumption is declining. Several dozen airlines and hotel chains have stopped serving it. In 2012, the Chinese Government banned it at official functions, though the motive was more for austerity than conservation.
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Despite progress, it is still a long way from being relegated to history. Also, a new problem has arisen. Fishermen are switching to shark meat and creating new appetites for a product that wasn’t popular before. In many countries trade in shark meat has grown exponentially. So finning bans alone aren’t enough to reduce shark killing. A new approach is clearly needed.