In a press release from The Humane Society of the United States, it is being reported that renowned chef and author, Alice Waters, has signed The International Humane Society’s No Shark Fin Pledge, which reads…
I pledge to help protect the world’s oceans by committing never to consume or serve shark fin or any product containing shark fin.
This move is an about-face for Waters, who earlier this year was quoted as saying, “I’d have Cecilia Chang make me shark fin soup,” at a Q&A session in Connecticut, during a “Food for Thought” forum, in which she was asked what her last meal would be. What prompted this change of heart? Well, Waters is quoted in the Humane Society Press Release as saying,
“Not long ago I learned that every year tens of millions of sharks, their fins brutally sliced off, are thrown back into the ocean to die, and that many shark species are now seriously threatened. I support Humane Society International’s efforts to end this unsustainable practice, and I encourage other chefs and culinary industry leaders to do the same.”
While Waters has come under fire from some for her “not long ago” revelation, I think it’s only fair to give Ms. Waters the benefit of the doubt here. While certainly she realized that shark fins do not grow on trees, not everybody out there is aware of the practice of finning. I have come across plenty of people who are shocked to find out that sharks are hauled up only to have their fins removed and then have the rest of their body dumped back in the sea. If nothing else, it’s nice to see that Waters has had a change of heart and is encouraging others to steer away from shark fin dishes. Another bit of encouraging news, from the press release, is that “a number of chefs have developed faux shark fin dishes to satisfy consumer demand without the attending ecological devastation.”
News of Alice Waters’ No Shark Fin Pledge also appeared in the New York Times’ Diner’s Journal blog.