Apparently, there are no sharks left in Vietnam.
This is not a scientific fact. It’s based solely upon the opinion of my dive instructor in Nha Trang, a trendy resort town in southern Vietnam. While you may initially think this is a good thing, the sad reality is that sharks are one of the most threatened animals in the undersea environment and the vast majority pose no threat to humans whatsoever.
The instructor claimed he hadn’t seen a shark underwater in over 8 years, a fact which led me to speculate as to why. Was the water warmer? Had their food moved further offshore? Had he just not been looking?
The answer, it would turn out, wasn’t as much of a mystery as I was making it out to be.
While I knew that shark fin soup was a much sought after dish in the Far East, I didn’t think it had reached such dire levels where a trained professional who goes into the water actually looking for them hadn’t encountered one in nearly a decade.His answer did nothing to surprise me, however, as the Vietnamese are renowned for eating absolutely anything; sharks, dogs, birds, snakes, cats, starfish-it’s all just food. Of the Vietnamese, a Cambodian friend of mine once quipped that “the only thing with two legs they don’t eat is a human, and the only thing with four legs they don’t eat is a table.”