Tilapia Replacing Shark Fin in Soup?

John R. Platt 

The unsustainable demand for the Chinese delicacy known as shark fin soup is directly responsible for the slaughter of more than 70 million sharks every year. In a process known as finning, the sharks are caught, pulled onto boats, stripped of their valuable fins and dumped back into the ocean where they slowly and painfully drown. As a result of this cruel practice, some shark species have seen population declines of 99 percent in the past 10 years.

To help curb the impact of shark fin soup, California just banned the sale of shark fins, and the city of Toronto may soon follow suit. Other states and municipalities have already passed their own bans or are discussing them.

But one man thinks there’s another way to curb the demand for shark fin soup: Replace it with an alternative.

Wang Yi-feng, general manager of the Kouhu Fisheries Cooperative in Taiwan, tells Taiwan Today that he is selling farmed tilapia fins as an alternative to shark fins. The tail fins “of Taiwan tilapia are a perfect stand-in for shark fins because they have the same appearance and texture,” he told the paper. Taiwan tilapia are a hybrid of two fish from Singapore, Oreochromis mossambicus and Oreochromis niloticus niloticus.

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