Gordon Ramsay almost found himself burning in Hell’s Kitchen–literally.
The chef was visiting Costa Rica as part of a segment on UK Channel 4’s “Big Fish Fight” series to uncover the dark side of illicit shark fin trading when he was doused with gasoline by people involved with the industry.
Ramsay said of his potentially near-death experience:
“It is a multibillion dollar industry, completely unregulated. We traced some of the biggest culprits to Costa Rica. The day before we got there, a Taiwanese crew landed a haul of hammerhead sharks – police searched the boat and found bails of cocaine.”
“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 as far as the eye could see.”
“When I got back downstairs they tipped a barrel of petrol over me. Then these cars with blacked out windows suddenly appeared from nowhere, trying to block us in. We dived into the car and peeled off.”
The Shark Conservation Act awaits President Obama on his desk. Passed by Congress in December, it prevents vessels from returning to U.S. coasts from sea with only fins and no sharks and non-fishing vessels to transport fins without sharks.
Shark finning is meant to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup in some places and results in the shark’s fins being cut off while it is still alive. Unable to swim, the shark will die, either by sinking or being eaten alive by other fish.
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