Why is there such a demand for shark fins – a demand that’s threatening the existence of some species? It’s odd because they are said to taste on the nasty side. Dried fin is selling for about $225 a pound in China.
Two conservation groups looked into the oddity and learned that there’s not much behind the claimed health benefits:
The main reason is demand from China, where their gill rakers (filaments that filter the animals’ food from the water) are marketed as a supposed cure for a variety of ailments.
The researchers note that the gills had not previously been prescribed in traditional Chinese medicine, and many of its practitioners conceded in interviews for the study that gill rakers were not effective in treating illness and that many alternatives were available. The rising popularity of the ingredient seems to be the result of traders’ efforts to create a market, the report’s authors concluded.