04 January 2011

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s life threatened while investigating shark abuse

Britain’s celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently traveled to Costa Rica for an investigation into the cruel world of shark finning for his latest TV show Big Fish Fight. When Ramsay met with the gangsters responsible for the gruesome trade, he was covered in gasoline and held at gunpoint with his crew before being told by local police to leave the country or risk being shot.

Ramsay told Britain’s Daily Mail:

These gangs operate from places that are like forts, with barbed-wire perimeters and gun towers. At one, I managed to shake off the people who were keeping us away, ran up some stairs to a rooftop and looked down to see thousands and thousands of fins, drying on rooftops for as far as the eye could see. When I got back downstairs, they tipped a barrel of petrol over me.

Later on the same trip, Ramsay contacted a local fisherman who supplies shark fins to international clients:

In a quiet moment I dived from the boat to swim with marlin. I swam under the keel and saw this sack tied to it. I opened it and it was full of shark fins, huge ones from 20-year-olds. How they do it is quite upsetting. They shock them with an electric prod, but the shark’s still moving while they cut it up and throw it back dying into the water. No wonder they wanted to hide the evidence. The minute I threw this bag on deck, everyone started screaming and shouting. Back at the wharf, there were people pointing rifles at us to stop us filming. A van pulled up and these seedy characters made us stand against a wall. The police came and advised us to leave the country. They said, “If you set one foot in there, they’ll shoot you.”

Shark finning is a multi-million dollar industry, with fins selling for up to $300 per pound.

In December the Senate joined the House to protect sharks by banning the act of shark finning. The updated Shark Conservation Act aims to protect sharks by closing a previous loophole which allowed illegally obtained shark fins to be transported as long as the sharks had not been finned on the vessel.

Bev Hahler | @redhotvegan
Bev, a vegetarian since she was 14 years old, became more interested in veganism several years ago after studying Agro-business as part of an Ecology degree. She has a gorgeous daughter in second grade who has been a vegetarian her whole life (lucky girl). Follow Bev on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/54397539@N06