When shark fin is added to a chicken stock broth, it adds texture but no flavor.
Since the Ming Dynasty, shark fin soup has been treasured as a delicacy. Today, it is most often served to important guests as weddings and banquets.
It is expensive, costing upwards of 800 RMB per bowl – very profitable for fishermen.
That's the problem. In the zest for profits is cruelty. Here's the issue as described by Wikipedia:
Over 100 million sharks are killed every year, a portion due to the demand for shark fin soup.Then, only a small amount of the shark is actually kept. This is done in a process called finning where the fins are cut from living sharks. After the fins have been cut off, the remainder of the fish is thrown back into the sea. If still alive, the fin-less shark is unable to swim and sinks to the ocean bottom to die a slow death.
In 2009, Yao Ming shot a commercial against the practice of finning sharks for sake of shark fin soup.
Basically what happens is that he's sitting in a restaurant with a huge wall aquarium. Then, a waiter serves him a bowl of shark fin soup. Then he looks into the aquarium and sees a bloody shark with its fin cut off. Then other people notice, until the whole restaurant looks on with a mix of shock and distaste.
Then Yao looks hard into the camera and says: "When the buying stops, the killing will too."
So what do you think... if offered to you, will you eat a bowl of shark fin soup?