While the consumption of shark is well-known in a variety of countries including Sri Lanka, Australia, Trinidad and also Tobago, and Iceland (where it"s fermented and aged till it smells prefer "gym clothing or rotten eggs," follow to those brave enough to try, via Culture Trip), it"s not specifically popular in the unified States.

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Given that sharks room predators the feed on smaller fish, lock accumulate high level of mercury in your meat, which deserve to be happen in to humans (via Food & Wine). A 2014 study from southern Africa found that in addition to mercury, samples indigenous three types of shark were displayed to have arsenic as well. The meat sampled showed that the mercury levels were 10 times greater than the amount thought about safe (via Seeker).

Although you most likely won"t discover a shark steak on the food selection the way you would uncover a swordfish steak, there"s tho one shark food that"s all too popular — shark fin soup.


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The dish is a Chinese delicacy, often eaten at celebrations such together weddings and also Chinese brand-new Year celebrations (via The new York Times). That goes back centuries and has been written about as beforehand as the Ming dynasty (1368-1664) (via The Guardian). The dish was thought to have medicinal effects, though contemporary medicine falls short to back up the assertion (via CNN). However, current years have seen a diminish in number of certain varieties that are valued for your fins, including hammerhead sharks (via The Guardian)


As a result, numerous critics have actually coming out versus the dish, consisting of top chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain (via Grub Street). Ramsay even went so far to film an hour-long documentary in 2011 about the shark fin market which take it him indigenous London to Costa Rica (where he was intimidated at gunpoint during his investigation) come Taipei (via YouTube).

The procedure through i beg your pardon the fins room acquired, which death an estimated 70 million sharks annually, has additionally resulted in calls for the dish to be boycotted (via Humane society International)


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The meat is not nearly as an important as the fins, which deserve to sell because that a hefty $400 per lb (via National Geographic), conveniently making it among the many expensive food assets in the world. Given the discrepancy between the absence of need for the meat and also the incredible price of the fins, shark fishermen most regularly practice what is known as "finning," wherein the dorsal fin, pectoral fins, ventral fins, anal fin, and parts of the tail are cut off the shark.


Generally, the remainder of the shark is tossed earlier into the water and also is left to die. Can not to swim, it quickly suffocates without water relocating through the gills, although the can additionally die that blood loss or be consumed by other predators. Ramsay described the exercise as, "Without a doubt, the worst plot of pet cruelty I"ve ever seen."


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The irony of the dish is that the fins, choose tofu, because that example, don"t have actually much the a flavor and takes on the taste of the soup the it"s in. The soup is famous less so due to the fact that it"s very delicious and much more because it"s viewed as a status symbol, going earlier to that is inception when it to be a dish consumed exclusively by the emperor.

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Although about a 5th of American states have actually banned the intake of shark fin, there room still restaurants that try to get away with offering it. At China gate Restaurant, in Los Angeles, because that example, it"s even listed on the takeaway menu, though when asked around why the as accessible since California has actually banned the dish, the owner the the restaurant claimed that it was a "mistake" and that the restaurant doesn"t actually serve the dish.