If you’ve ever seen dolphin documentary The Cove (watched, perhaps, in scaredy-cat style behind your fingers), you can probably imagine how Thailand shark fin ends up in a soup bowl. Nothing quite so tame as simmering some French Onion. Much closer to Jaws, actually. Finning sharks is a genuine horror show, and it’s a devastating practice for the ocean and its healthy ecosystem. So … where’s the good news?
Thailand shark fin, meet the good guys
On a recent Pinterest binge we discovered the Fin Free Thailand campaign, and its accompanying ‘Blue List‘ of Thai hotels that have pledged to keep their kitchens 100% shark fin free. The hotels’ participation in this campaign is a huge deal in a country so dependent on tourist dollars.
What’s in it for you?
Infinity pools and great coffee – it’s an easy vote to make. Lucky for all of us, the list of good guys are a who’s-who of the Thailand’s best hotels, making ethical accommodation a very easy choice. PETA might have their methods but in this case, voting for less man-on-animal cruelty means five stars, fine linens, incredible ambiance and unbelievable views… rough work, can you do it?
[Anantara Bophut: 100% shark fin free]
Why should you care if your hotel is shark fin free?
You want to respect who you’re going to bed with, right? We’re always reassured to see a business in the tourist industry stick to their scruples. Take a quick look at this literal blood bath and you might care – just a little bit – to side with the good guys on this.
Do people eat shark fin soup in Thailand?
From Fin Free Thailand: “Shark fin restaurant owners in Bangkok’s Chinatown alone have claimed to be selling more than 20,000 bowls of shark fin soup per month.” Any hotel walking away from that kind of cash to sit quietly as the good guys? They deserve a medal.
Shark-fin free hotels – Koh Samui
Since we first published this post in 2014, a further ten Koh Samui hotels have pledged to go Shark Fin Free – bringing the island’s current total to 27 hotels. Alphabetically, current as of October, 2016:
Amari Koh Samui
Banyan Tree Samui
The Beach Samui
Centara Villas Samui
Centra Coconut Beach Resort Samui
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
Kamalaya Koh Samui
Manathai Koh Samui
New Star Beach Resort
OZO Chaweng Samui
Paradise Beach Resort
Pinnacle Samui Resort
Samui Palm Beach Resort
The Sunset Beach Resort & Spa
Tongsai Bay / Tongsai Grand Villas
TIP! If you see your hotel on the list above – send them a quick thumbs up on social media (#finfree) – good guys always deserve praise. If your hotel is missing from the list, ask them why.
Why should you care about shark fin free?
A quick list of three reasons from Fin Free Thailand:
- To protect endangered species of sharks (here’s a really long list of endangered and vulnerable shark species)
- To protect marine ecosystems (the ‘picture postcard’ ocean and beaches you’re coming to enjoy in Thailand)
- To protect people’s health (that’s you!) – shark fin soup can contain insane mercury levels
For anyone wondering about the presence of live sharks in and around Koh Samui (now that it’s so easy to avoid dead ones), there are whale sharks off Koh Tao (as in the photos above). While absolutely massive – 47,000 lb / 21.5 metric tons – they’re plankton feeders (more here).