What’s in Your Shark Fin Soup?

Americans who eat shark fin soup may be unknowingly chowing down on globally endangered species, a new study found

Endangered scalloped hammerhead, anyone? Americans who eat shark fin soup know they’re eating shark, but they may be inadvertently dining on globally endangered species, a new study supported by the Pew Environment Group found.

The researchers took samples from soup served in 14 U.S. cities to genetically identify which species restaurant-goers were slurping up. In every single city’s offerings, they found at-risk species, including the scalloped hammerhead which is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered.

Shark attack survivors who are advocating for a ban on shark fin soup helped collect the samples. They will be appearing Wednesday, August 15, at 9 pm EDT on Discovery’s “Shark Fight” to discuss the study’s implications about the precarious state of the world’s shark populations.

Here’s a video of shark fishing from a blimp, back from 1934 when waters were more plentiful:


More from Smithsonian.com:

Shark Fin Soup in Hot Water 

Respect: Sharks are Older Than Trees

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