Endangered Species Offered in U.S. Restaurants

Avatar BCR | August 18, 2012 12 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

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Recently, the Pew Environment Group did a DNA study of shark fin soup at restaurants in 14 states and found, to officials’ dismay, that they contained shark species considered endangered, vulnerable or “near-threatened.”


The idea is that people might unwittingly eat one of these species, thinking they were actually eating a shark that is in plentiful supply.


“The DNA testing again confirms that a wide variety of sharks are being killed for the fin trade, including seriously threatened species,” Demian Chapman, who co-led the DNA testing at the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University in New York, said in a press release. “U.S. consumers of shark fin soup cannot be certain of what’s in their soup. They could be eating a species that is in serious trouble.”


But, uh….. Apparently, shark fin soup costs in the realm of $100 a bowl, so the best thing for both the sharks and your wallet might be to stay away from the stuff. Then again, I’ve never tasted it, so maybe I’m missing something here.


Today, Discovery News reporter Emily Sohn advanced the issue with a story looking at five other “troubled entrees” one might encounter on a menu. One of them is lion — legal, apparently, if ill-advised. So, no, please don’t eat the lions. That ought to be easy.


Others: bluefin tuna, caviar from sturgeon, chilean sea bass and turtles.


“It doesn’t mean it’s safe for a species just because it’s on a menu,” biologist Susan Lieberman, director of international policy for the Pew Environment Group in Washington, D.C., told Sohn.





It may be easier to order a troubled entrée than you think, especially if you eat fish and seafood.



  • A variety of laws regulate trade of endangered and threatened species, but many at-risk animals show up on U.S. menus.
  • Most fish and seafood species have yet to be considered for listing on endangered lists.
  • It’s not always possible to figure out where menu items come from.

A bluefin tuna swimming in the deep. The fish is on the IUCN Red List, but it is not officially protected in the U.S. Click to enlarge this image.
Getty Images

Even if you read educational materials at zoos and donate money to conservation organizations, your eating habits may be unintentionally undermining the threatened species you care about.

A recent study of shark fin soup fro

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