Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Court Upholds the Ban on Shark Fins

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Shark fins drying on a Hong Kong sidewalk. If you're caught with one here, you could be slapped with a $1,000 fine. - FLICKR/NICWN
  • Flickr/nicwn
  • Shark fins drying on a Hong Kong sidewalk. If you're caught with one here, you could be slapped with a $1,000 fine.

If you've got a mad craving for shark fin soup, you're still out of luck: Yesterday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously refused to block the ban on shark fins during a current lawsuit against a law passed in 2011 banning their possession. The law, which only went into effect earlier this year, is being contested by San Francisco Chinese restaurants on the grounds that it's discriminatory (shark fin soup is a delicacy in Chinese restaurants). They asked to have the ban lifted as they pursue the lawsuit.

But the Court of Appeals said that the restaurants couldn't prove "irreparable harm" if they weren't allowed to sell the soup, and thus, the controversial fin would stay out of restaurant kitchens for now.

See also: Shark's Fin -- Understanding the Political Soup

Don't Forget to Fill Up on Shark Fin Soup This Weekend

The law banning shark fins was sponsored by animal-protection groups, in part to stop fishermen from slicing fins off live sharks, a practice that advocates of the bill say is common. The fins are also said to have high levels of mercury.

Back when the law was being discussed in 2011, former SF Weekly food editor Jonathan Kauffman wrote a terrific piece on the politics and pleasures of shark fin soup. It's still a relevant read today. In case you never had the chance to eat shark fin soup (I never did), Kauffman's description almost makes you feel as though you had:

At Great Eastern, the soup can be ordered by the individual portion, though each costs $32. When I received my half-pint bowl, I could see tufts of crabmeat floating below the surface of a thick, clear brown broth, which seemed to have ripples frozen within it. When I raised up a spoonful to look, the ripples revealed themselves to be hundreds of delicately arced, transparent threads of cartilage, each the size of a pine needle.

Despite its price, the soup was no culinary masterpiece. The pork-and-chicken broth lacked complexity and depth, if not cornstarch. But the shark's fin was exquisite: Each filament was silky and jellied, but with a delicately chewy texture. As I sipped the soup, the filaments fluttered against every surface of my mouth, impossible to pinpoint, like walking through the mist halo of a sprinkler and trying to identify where each drop lands on your skin.

[via the Examiner]

Follow @annaroth

  • Pin It

About The Author

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"