The Case of Shark Finning in US media coverage

Conservation and Tradition: The Case of Shark Finning in U.S. media coverage

Megan K. VanRysdam and Luz Helena Oviedo

University of Florida, Completed research


The demand for shark fins to supply a Chinese culinary tradition has put major pressure on shark populations and is considered a cause for their declining numbers. Shark fin soup has been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years and is traditionally considered a delicacy and symbol of honor and respect when served to guests. Using qualitative framing analysis, we examined nine leading online newspapers (national and regional) to identify how the U.S. news media framed shark finning and shark conservation before and after the introduction and passage of shark finning and shark fin legislative bans in Pacific U.S. states. Our results suggest that news coverage of shark conservation and sharks used in Chinese culinary dishes increased after legislation and that the news articles supported conservation discourse. Media frequently highlighted a controversy frame, pitting conservation against the culture and tradition of Chinese-Americans. This study sheds light on the predominant arguments in wildlife-human conflicts, what readers are exposed to, and how conservation stakeholders may benefit from this type of research.

Presentation at the 12th Annual Conference on Science & Technology in Society, March 30-31, 2012,

Hosted by the ST Global Consortium in Washington, DC

Source: STGlobal Conference


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