Yao Ming Urges China to Lay Off the Shark Fin Soup

Recently retired NBA star Yao Ming is taking up a new cause. Ming and billionaire Richard Branson are teaming up to speak out against shark fin soup.

Ming and Branson made an appeal in Shanhai on Thursday against the consumption of shark fins. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the two advocates spoke to 30 of China’s richest and most influential business people.

Ming said:

“When demand happens, the buying happens and the killing happens.”

Shark fin soup is a delicacy in China that has been made for hundreds of years. The conservation group WildAid says that some 70 million sharks are killed each year solely for their fins. The shark bodies are typically discarded, while the fins are sold for $700 a pound. A bowl of shark fin soup can cost $80.

Branson, whose Virgin Airlines bans the transport of shark fins, said:

“There’s been a massive increase in shark fin soup and the killing of sharks. The world is getting wealthier, particularly in China people are getting wealthier, and they can now afford to buy shark fin soup.”

The trade and consumption of shark fins has been banned in places like California, but 95% of the trade is concentrated in China.

Branson added:

“We’re trying to get other businesses to ban the transportation of shark fins… ban altogether shark fin soup from states and then countries. That’s perhaps the only way to save the shark in the long term.”

Have you ever tried shark fin soup? Are Yao Ming and Richard Branson right? Is it time to ban shark fin soup?