Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

California's proposed shark-fin ban


Fat Guy
 Share

Recommended Posts

Some of the misinformation in previous posts is truly shocking. I'd highly recomnmend putting the film Sharkwater on your netflix list if you haven't seen it. It is a completely eye-opening documentary, not to mention is beautifully filmed.

http://www.sharkwater.com/

I would also encourage you to check out the great work that Shark Savers is doing around the world.

http://www.sharksavers.org/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most chinese restaurants in London have withdrawn sharks fin from the menu after a campaign by Gordon Ramsay - it's a pretty nasty industry

Wow, what a guy... So, its okay for him to fish for and kill endangered sharks for sport, but its not okay when others want to eat them?

Why is he even lecturing others what to serve when he was serving endangered animals after his campaign? If he wants to do something, why not focus on the endangered fishes and animals that he serves at his restaurants and which his audience eats instead of going after a chinese delicary that he and his eaters weren't going to eat in the first place. It must be so much easier and convienent to lecture others about what not to eat instead of looking in the mirror.

Is your post directed at me or just a general rant at Ramsay :blink:

Yes, Ramsay does appear to have been on shark fishing trips in the past, and he should have mentioned this in his show. With regards to endangered fish/animals that he serves, what ones in particular were you referring to? Just had a quick look through the menus on RHR & Claridges but nothing in particular stood out

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even in Chinese Shark Fin soup country , there are people lobbying for an end to serving sharks fin at restaurants, and the idea is getting more and more popular, I would say it is not some action taken against the Chinese people if we ourselves are also against it.

Jade Shing!

It is nice to e-meet all of you ^_^

My Love of Kitchen Gear is a love of Kitchen Tools :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

The thing I don't like is that the shark meat is certainly marketable and edible but it costs more to clean, gut and ice down big fish, while they can shear off fins and toss the rest back with less effort and it doesn't spoil as rapidly and doesn't require cleaning. I have no objection to harvesting the entire shark - shark meat is good.

I was listening to an interview with the state legislator who proposed this ban, and it kinda seemed like a total ban on any shark meat was going to be his next move. Otherwise, it seems like a waste that if fishing for shark meat is legal, then why couldn't you use those fins? For whatever reason, he really seems intent on a total ban on any fishing of sharks and rejected any possible compromises that could have kept shark fin soup available to Chinese-Americans even it was done in a more enviornmental friendly and sustainable method.

One of my problems with this ban is that its so broad- not all sharks are endangered. From what I've read, the numbers range, depending on your source, from 20%-33% shark species in the world are endangered. But, California actually has a number of healthy populations of sharks althought the great white sharks in California are endangered.

Its like deciding for a blanket ban on the sale of ALL tuna just because the bluefin tuna numbers are low. And, with bluefin tuna, we're talking about a specific species that is threatened and yet we don't see a similar ban... To me, its fairly obvious why there's no ban on bluefin tuna- its not just a single minority group that eats it.

If a shark species has a healthy population and it can be harvested sustainably, then I don't necessairly see anything wrong with shark fin soup, notwithstanding the weird texture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You make some reasoned points, mcohen, but then --

To me, its fairly obvious why there's no ban on bluefin tuna- its not just a single minority group that eats it.

Did you not read the refutations that already appeared above to this apparently personal assumption? You were asked for any evidence, but have answered with none. (One refuter here self-identified as Chinese, and I happen to know many Chinese people, both Chinese-born and ethnically Chinese, and it's from within that population, in California, that I have heard most grass-roots protest against current fin shearing practice.) Was any of that conceivably unclear? If not, why do you insist on repeating this unsupported and apparently discredited point?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I see shark fins in downtown LA all the time. It's disgusting, truly.

That is an very old Chinatown. I often wonder how often they are purchased. As in - have I been seeing the same fins since I was 5?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I've read that they whack the fin off and throw the shark back to slowly die. I don't need that to happen for me to have a bowl of soup.

That may well how it used to be, but I'm pretty sure they kill the shark before doing that nowadays, for safety more than anything else, and then dump the finless shark overboard.

It's an appalling industry, more for the waste than anything else. I can't disagree with the banning.

James.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most chinese restaurants in London have withdrawn sharks fin from the menu after a campaign by Gordon Ramsay - it's a pretty nasty industry

Wow, what a guy... So, its okay for him to fish for and kill endangered sharks for sport, but its not okay when others want to eat them?

Why is he even lecturing others what to serve when he was serving endangered animals after his campaign? If he wants to do something, why not focus on the endangered fishes and animals that he serves at his restaurants and which his audience eats instead of going after a chinese delicary that he and his eaters weren't going to eat in the first place. It must be so much easier and convienent to lecture others about what not to eat instead of looking in the mirror.

You're going to have to clue me in here, which one of his shows portrays him fishing for endangered sharks? Oh, and what endangered animals is he serving in his restaurants?

That post seems ridiculous in more ways than one.

James.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're going to have to clue me in here, which one of his shows portrays him fishing for endangered sharks? Oh, and what endangered animals is he serving in his restaurants?

That post seems ridiculous in more ways than one.

You know, its not that difficult to google Gordon Ramsay and hypocrite or Gordon Ramsay and endangered species.

But, since you asked...

Obviously, just because it wasn't shown on one of his TV shows, doesn't mean he didn't fish for sharks for fun.

A year before he filmed his shark documentary, even though he now descibes how 'barbaric' and 'wasteful' for others to go after sharks for food, Gordon Ramsay went on a private fishing expedition and hunted down two sharks for sport.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1351577/Gordon-Ramsay-hypocrite-How-TV-chef-defended-sharks--previously-caught-rare-ones-fun.html

If Ramsay is going to criticize finning as being barbaric, was Gordon Ramsay's method to kill those two sharks really any better:

Before the shark could be brought on board the boat, it had to be killed. So the captain hooks the shark on the end of Ramsay’s line with a harpoon and rope, before dragging it backwards through the water.

When a shark is dragged backwards for long enough it suffocates, because it can only pump water out of its gills when moving forward. So how long did this particular shark take to die? Around ten agonising minutes, according to witnesses.

When it finally stopped thrashing around, the bloodied carcass was hauled on board to cheers from Ramsay’s entourage. A triumphant Ramsay can be seen ‘high-fiving’ the captain.

But, just because he didn't hunt for endangered sharks for fun on one of his TV shows, it doesn't mean that he hasn't reveled in hunting or eating endangered animals before on his TV shows.

There was the time he went hunting for puffins, an endangered species. But, at least, this time he didn't completely waste it and ate its raw heart.

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2008/09/17/chef-gordon-ramsay-in-trouble-after-puffin-hunting-scandal/

Then, there was the time Gordon Ramsay told the BBC that Britons should eat more skate, a critically endangered species.

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/offbeat-news/tv-chef-urges-viewers-to-eat-endangered-fish/455

As to the endgangered spcecies he serves at his restaurants or which he consults at, there are several cases:

At Verre, one of the restaurants he consults at, their online menu proudly states they served Atlantic Halibut, an endangered species.

At Castel Monastero, another restuarant he consults at, they were serving "local tuna" which if its local and comes from the Mediterranean, its going to be likely bluefin tuna, another endangered species.

And, Ramsay was serving endangered European eels at his London resaurant, Maze, as well as at La Veranda, another restaurant where he consults at.

So, Gordon Ramsay continued to serve endangered eels three years after conservationists critized him for catching and eating engangered eels on his TV show, the F show.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3344014/Gordon-Ramsay-criticised-for-eating-endangered-eels.html

Celebrity TV chef Gordon Ramsay has angered conservationists by trapping and cooking endangered eels.

He was filmed trapping elvers - young eels - on the River Severn for his F Word show and then cooking them on a barbecue before serving them on toast.

Mark Salt, secretary of the National Anguilla Club, said Ramsay should be "ashamed" of cooking endangered eels which conservationists are trying to save.

He said: "With eels stocks at their lowest ever, Gordon Ramsay should be thoroughly ashamed of his exploits. European eel stocks have suffered a catastrophic decline and numbers have plummeted by up to 99 per cent

On the show, Ramsay justifies catching the eels when he says,"I know it's a delicacy and I get that but f****** hell, it's an extraordinary amount of work. Thank (expletive) they're delicious." At the same time, he tried shark fin soup and didn't care for the taste of it- he completely missed the point that its tehre for the textures. It makes you wonder what if he had found shark fin soup to be delicious, would he be as quick to condem it?

Edited by mcohen (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My apologies, it seems there is more going on there I was unaware of, I don't exactly google Gordon too much anymore, since I found the more exciting and less publicised chefs in the world.

The shark thing, yes it is hypocritical, although two sharks taken as trophies are hardly big news. The Puffin is irrelevant, as it isn't served in any of his restaurants, and was a one-off.

The Eel thing I can understand to a degree, and I was unaware of the various endangered fish he was serving, but you can't put that on the same level as shark finning, because at least they're using most, if not all, of the fish (portions, stocks, staff meals etc).

He may be morally wrong, and slightly hypocritical, but he's campaigning against a morally reprehensible practice. I can't see how anyone can take the other side on this one.

I'd be fine if the whole shark was used, but that's not the case.

Edited by Broken English (log)

James.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Most chinese restaurants in London have withdrawn sharks fin from the menu after a campaign by Gordon Ramsay - it's a pretty nasty industry

Did you get to see Gordon Ramsay's documentary, Shark Bait, over in England?

Because I watched it here in America, and I didn't see any of these things in the documentary they aired here in America:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8237505/Gordon-Ramsay-threatened-at-gunpoint-during-illegal-fishing-investigation.html

Ramsay, 44, travelled to Costa Rica to uncover the illicit trade in shark fins as part of Channel 4’s Big Fish Fight series.

He said: “It is a multibillion dollar industry, completely unregulated. We traced some of the biggest culprits to Costa Rica. The day before we got there, a Taiwanese crew landed a haul of hammerhead sharks – police searched the boat and found bails of cocaine.

“These gangs operate from places that are like forts, with barbed-wire perimeters and gun towers.

“At one, I managed to shake off the people who were keeping us away, ran up some stairs to a rooftop and looked down to see thousands and thousands of fins, drying on rooftops as far as the eye could see.

“When I got back downstairs they tipped a barrel of petrol over me. Then these cars with blacked out windows suddenly appeared from nowhere, trying to block us in. We dived into the car and peeled off.”

Later in the trip he and the film crew managed to talk their way onto one of the fishing boats involved in illegal shark fin trading.

He said: “In a quiet moment I dived from the boat to swim with marlin. I swam under the keel and saw this sack tied to it. I opened it and it was full of shark fins. The minute I threw this bag on deck, everyone started screaming and shouting.

“Back at the wharf, there were people pointing rifles at us to stop us filming. A van pulled up and these seedy characters made us stand against the wall. The police came and advised us to leave the country.

They said ‘if you set one foot in there, they’ll shoot you’.”

I'm wondering if any of it was shown originally in England but then edited out here because of timing or content like when English shows are given more leeway with nudity. Mabye, this stuff was too shocking to air in America?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most chinese restaurants in London have withdrawn sharks fin from the menu after a campaign by Gordon Ramsay - it's a pretty nasty industry

Did you get to see Gordon Ramsay's documentary, Shark Bait, over in England?

Because I watched it here in America, and I didn't see any of these things in the documentary they aired here in America:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8237505/Gordon-Ramsay-threatened-at-gunpoint-during-illegal-fishing-investigation.html

Ramsay, 44, travelled to Costa Rica to uncover the illicit trade in shark fins as part of Channel 4’s Big Fish Fight series.

He said: “It is a multibillion dollar industry, completely unregulated. We traced some of the biggest culprits to Costa Rica. The day before we got there, a Taiwanese crew landed a haul of hammerhead sharks – police searched the boat and found bails of cocaine.

“These gangs operate from places that are like forts, with barbed-wire perimeters and gun towers.

“At one, I managed to shake off the people who were keeping us away, ran up some stairs to a rooftop and looked down to see thousands and thousands of fins, drying on rooftops as far as the eye could see.

“When I got back downstairs they tipped a barrel of petrol over me. Then these cars with blacked out windows suddenly appeared from nowhere, trying to block us in. We dived into the car and peeled off.”

Later in the trip he and the film crew managed to talk their way onto one of the fishing boats involved in illegal shark fin trading.

He said: “In a quiet moment I dived from the boat to swim with marlin. I swam under the keel and saw this sack tied to it. I opened it and it was full of shark fins. The minute I threw this bag on deck, everyone started screaming and shouting.

“Back at the wharf, there were people pointing rifles at us to stop us filming. A van pulled up and these seedy characters made us stand against the wall. The police came and advised us to leave the country.

They said ‘if you set one foot in there, they’ll shoot you’.”

I'm wondering if any of it was shown originally in England but then edited out here because of timing or content like when English shows are given more leeway with nudity. Mabye, this stuff was too shocking to air in America?

Yes - I was watching it in the UK, that's odd. Was there not a section about him meeting up with most of the main London chinese restaurant owners? Why they would cut it out I don't know!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes - I was watching it in the UK, that's odd. Was there not a section about him meeting up with most of the main London chinese restaurant owners? Why they would cut it out I don't know!

My bad for not being clearer but I was referring to all the stuff in the Telegraph article: how his life was in danger when they poured gasoline on him or when those cars tried to block him in to when they lined him against in a wall and threatened to shoot him.

I saw the meeting at the end with the Chinese restaurant, but I wanted to know if they ended up showing all the other stuff in the Telegraph article in England. That footage would have been gripping, exciting stuff and I don't understand why they wouldn't show it here in America.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I saw the meeting at the end with the Chinese restaurant, but I wanted to know if they ended up showing all the other stuff in the Telegraph article in England. That footage would have been gripping, exciting stuff and I don't understand why they wouldn't show it here in America.

There was no footage because most, if not all, of that stuff never happened. Gordon Ramsay's lucrative contract with Channel 4 in the UK is up for renewal, and he was scared because his ratings have been declining. So, in a pathetic attempt to goose up buzz and ratings, Ramsay flat out made stuff up or exagerrated something minor into an international incident. If any of stuff really happened and the cameras were rolling, there's no way they wouldn't have aired that footage.

Let's look at that article's claims and what was actually shown on his documentary:

He(Ramsay) said: “It is a multibillion dollar industry, completely unregulated.

From what I saw on the documentary, it actually seemed fairly regulated especially in terms of finning. In Costa Rica, with the exception of one shark, there wasn't any finning- the boat had to bring the rest of the sharks to the dock if they wanted to sell the fins. And, in Taiwan, the boats also had to bring the rest of the sharks if they wanted to sell the fins. Ramsay made a big fuss that the number of sharks didn't match the fins, but sharks have multiple fins so obviously you shouldn't expect one shark fin for every shark being brought in.

And, if finning seems to have been regulated, it seems disingenous for Ramsay to blackmail those Chinese restaurants with outdated finning footage when his own more recent footage didn't really uncover or show any finning.

We traced some of the biggest culprits to Costa Rica...these gangs operate from places that are like forts, with barbed-wire perimeters and gun towers.

“At one, I managed to shake off the people who were keeping us away, ran up some stairs to a rooftop and looked down to see thousands and thousands of fins, drying on rooftops as far as the eye could see.

This time, he actually went to Costa Rica and yes, they did seem places that were heavily guarded. But, if shark fins are worth so much, is it really that surprising that they are heavily guarded? In other words, if I pass a business in America that is heavily guarded, should we automatically assume that that business is doing something illegal or wrong?

But, when he runs up the stairs to a rooftop to see shark fins being dried, this happens in Taiwan, not Costa Rica which is what Ramsay seems to imply.

“When I got back downstairs they tipped a barrel of petrol over me

In Taiwan, somebody does drop a small amount of liquid to chase him away after he breaks and enters into the building but it certainly wasn't a barrel.

And, that liquid wasn't petrol- you don't use petrol to prepare or dry shark fins.

In another article, I think I remember him saying that he got soaked with petrol and how they threatened to light him on fire. But, he doesn't even get a single drop on him.

Then these cars with blacked out windows suddenly appeared from nowhere, trying to block us in. We dived into the car and peeled off

In Taiwan, we see only 1 Mercedes with blacked out windows but it doesn't try to block Gordon Ramsay in. But, we do see an increasingly paranoid Ramsay warn the audience that the Mercedes must be owned by a gangster instead of a businessman or an international football star. However, we don't see Ramsay running away once that Mercedes arrive.

Instead, what seems to really scare Ramsay to leave is when he hears a dog barking behind a gate and that's when Ramsay says they have to leave because the Taiwanese have let the dogs out to chase him even though the barking dog remains behind its gate. Even then, Gordon Ramsay doesn't 'dive' into the car and 'peel' off to escape the barking dog.

In a quiet moment I dived from the boat to swim with marlin. I swam under the keel and saw this sack tied to it. I opened it and it was full of shark fins. The minute I threw this bag on deck, everyone started screaming and shouting.

Oh, where to begin...

We don't see Ramsay dive under the boat or discover a sack full of shark fins. In Costa Rica, the fishermen are pretty open and show him the sharks they've caught and the fins. While doing that, Ramsay spots a large fin that doesn't match any of the sharks on-board.

In this case, the fishermen did break the law by not returning that one shark back to the harbor. However, there wasn't any screaming or shouting- more like the fisherman shrugging their shoulders about getting caught red-handed for what they didn't see as big deal. In the fishemran's eyes, they weren't committing finning because they cut up that shark as bait to catch more sharks.

“Back at the wharf, there were people pointing rifles at us to stop us filming. A van pulled up and these seedy characters made us stand against the wall. The police came and advised us to leave the country.

They said ‘if you set one foot in there, they’ll shoot you’.”

Again, there's no footage of anything like this, nothing even close.

We don't see any guns, or Gordon Ramsay being lined up against a wall.

The only mention of guns in the documentary is Gordon Ramsay bringing that topic himself in Taiwan when he's breaking and entering into that building where shark fins are being dried.

After awhile on the rooftop, Ramsay finally says they have to leave 'before they get shot' after a lady on the rooftop makes a phone call. Yet, we don't see any guns on the rooftop. In all likelihood, the lady was probably calling the Taiwanese police about some stranger in the building and yet Gordon Ramsay was acting as if she called the Taiwanese Triads to kill him.

If ndeed the police did advise Gordon Ramsay to leave the country, I betcha it was more likely that they gave him a warning that they'd have to arrest him if he continued to illegally break and enter into buildings.

Edited by mcohen (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't see any guns, or Gordon Ramsay being lined up against a wall.

Pity, that.

Oh, what am I saying, I don't even know the man. But based on his TV persona? Pity, that.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

Nowadays they do make faux shark fins (made from gelatin?).

And, they also make faux foie gras...

Anybody ever notice that some of the most vocal supporters of the shark fin ban were also the most vocal opponents for banning foie gras. I hate the PETA extremists but you've got to credit them for consistency.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nowadays they do make faux shark fins (made from gelatin?).

And, they also make faux foie gras...

Anybody ever notice that some of the most vocal supporters of the shark fin ban were also the most vocal opponents for banning foie gras. I hate the PETA extremists but you've got to credit them for consistency.

Foolish consistency blah blah hobgoblin blah blah. I don't think it's inconsistent to believe that finning sharks and throwing them back to die is inherently cruel while force feeding ducks and geese is not, or that finning sharks and disposing of the rest of the carcass, even if you killed them first, is wasteful. Not to mention the relative sustainability situations of sharks versus, you know, ducks.

Edit: Misquote.

Edited by mkayahara (log)

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...