Eating shark fin soup not only contributes to the world wide threats to shark population, it turns out that the shark fins are not so great for you.

Of course if you believe the pseudoscience around shark fins and myriad health benefits including for sexual prowess, then you probably also believe that aliens are among us and that 911 was a US government sponsored conspiracy.

Seriously though, it turns out that shark fins contain abnormally high levels of mercury. This is because sharks are at the top of the food chain. As one moves up the food chain, toxins are concentrated. Hammerhead sharks have the highest levels of mercury of all.

Why should we care? Well,aside from the needless decimation of shark populations worldwide, consumption of shark fin soup can lead to elevated mercury levels.

Mercury is a well known toxin. It can cause serious damage to the brain, heart, kidneys and immune system. Not only that but elevated mercury levels are linked to development of some nasty diseases including Lou Gehrigs disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a form of which the noted physicist Stephen Hawking has) and Alzheimers. Also mercury can damage connective tissue. Finally, developing brains including children and unborn fetuses are especially sensitive to mercury. Developmental delay and problems learning can be the result.

So overall the verdict is clear: Forget shark fin soup.