Shark's fin soup isn't so safe

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hong kong

The international environmental watchdog Wild Aid reported on July
3 that sharks' fins exported mainly from Hong Kong and sold in
restaurants throughout...

The international environmental watchdog Wild Aid reported on July 3 that sharks' fins exported mainly from Hong Kong and sold in restaurants throughout Asia and the rest of the world contained dangerously high levels of mercury. Levels of the poisonous heavy metal found in sharks' fins for sale in Thailand were as much as 42 times more than safe limits for humans. "We are alarmed by these results because this means sharks' fins being distributed in Thailand and other countries around the world are sometimes essentially poisoned without the consumer's knowledge,"​ said Steven Gastler, co-director of US-based Wild Aid​. "Most of the fins we found in Bangkok with mercury are coming from Hong Kong, which also distributes to San Francisco, London...wherever there is a Chinatown,",​ he added. State-run Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research did the tests. .Tests in Hong Kong this year gave similar results, while the governments of Australia and New Zealand have recently issued public warnings to pregnant women about eating shark meat, Gastler said. Consumption of high levels of mercury is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and their babies as it blocks the natural process of nerve cell formation in the brain. The mercury found in sharks comes from pollution of the seas, and, with sharks at the top of the food chain, they are found to retain higher levels of the substance. Wild Aid said an estimated 100 million sharks were caught by fishermen every year, many just for their fins, prized for their supposed medicinal value and use in traditional Chinese cooking."Next time you pay a large sum to have a bowl of sharks-fin to benefit your health, you could actually be inviting...irreversible harm,"​ the report said. Source: Reuters

Related topics: Science

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