Food Blogger Fined Nearly $20,000 for Eating Great White Shark
Photo: Ramon Carretero (Shutterstock)
A Chinese food blogger has been fined $18,500 for cooking and eating a great white shark in a video posted online. The blogger, who goes by the name Tizi was identified by officials as Jin, who said she had bought the shark on an Alibaba-owned shopping site Taobao for 7,700 yuan ($1,141).
Authorities said in a statement that Jin had bought the shark in April 2022 and posted the video on the social media platform Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) and Kuaishou. The videos quickly went viral, showing Jin cooking the 2-meter-long great white shark in a spicy broth and eating its meat. In the video, Jin says, “It may look vicious, but its meat is truly very tender,” before taking a bite of the shark’s carcass.
The blogger is known for posting extreme food videos, showing her eating animals like crocodiles and ostriches, and gained 7.8 million followers on Douyin for posting mukbang videos, in which influencers film themselves participating in extreme eating challenges.
When authorities first began investigating Jin in August last year, she claimed that she had bought the great white shark legally, and told the South China Morning Post, “These people are talking nonsense.” She had claimed in the video that the shark was “bred in captivity” and was “edible,” but an editorial by The Paper, a state-run news site, said there were inconsistencies with Jin’s claims.
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“It cannot be excluded that there is a black market,” The Paper said according to UK-based The Times. “After all, to ship a big shark from the coastal region to Nanchong [an inland city more than 1,100 miles away], it requires coordination.”
Investigators identified the shark in her video as a great white by DNA testing the leftover tissues and the Nanchong City Market Supervision Bureau said in its report that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural affairs valued the shark at 25,000 yuan ($3,704).
Jin was fined 125,000 yuan, or about $18,500. Local media reports say authorities had already identified and arrested the the individuals who sold Jin the shark last year.
Great white sharks are a protected species in China under the Wild Animal Protection Law, which prohibits anyone from transporting, buying, and selling them, and violators can receive hefty fines or up to ten years in prison.
These sharks are considered to be at high risk of extinction, according to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) which has reported that years of people hunting them for their fins and teeth have significantly decreased the population.